ST. ALBANS – This painting features the Saint Albans Hospital, gifted to the Saint Albans Museum by Charlotte Dorion. The building is more recognizable today as part of the Bellows Free Academy campus.
Originally built in 1883, the Saint Albans Hospital was the second hospital to open in the state of Vermont. It was founded when Chauncey Warner – who also commissioned the historic Warner Home in 1882 – bought the land from Edward A. Smith.
Only five years later, a major fire destroyed the building. Shortly after, the facilities were not only rebuilt, but improved.
Those improved facilities proved their efficiency 50 years later when staff at the Saint Albans Hospital treated John Spiess Kerbs for an accidental gunshot wound and saved his life.
Out of gratitude, his mother, Jeanne Kerbs of New York City, donated the funds to build a new hospital. She probably envisioned this to be an addition or replacement hospital.
This facility eventually became the Kerbs Memorial Hospital in 1950, located on Fairfield Street (shown in the postcard below).
Instead of becoming an addition, however, Kerbs Memorial soon became a competitor that created a divide between its patients and practitioners – as well as within the community.
That division lasted until 1978 when Northwestern Medical Center opened at the site of Kerbs Memorial.
By 1996, the two services were completely consolidated and Bellows Free Academy purchased the Saint Albans Hospital building for one dollar, plus the cost of land.
Do you have any historic images to share with the Saint Albans Museum? Contact the museum at stamuseum.org.