Before Atrium, there was St. Peter's Hospital

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room takes a historical look into the evolution of St. Peter's Hospital.

In 1875, St. Peter’s Hospital, the first non-military hospital in North Carolina, was founded to serve the underprivileged Charlotte community 

 

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church formed the Church Aid Society after an inspiring message by Reverend Benjamin Bronson on taking care of the underprivileged and sick in Charlotte’s community. Patients were first treated at the church, but Jane Wilkes and other Church Aid Society women recognized the need for a hospital setting to better serve their patients.   

           

St. Peter’s underwent several location changes and renovations in its operation. In 1875-1876, the hospital rented two rooms in Mr. Ferdinand Kuester’s home on East Seventh Street between College Street and the North Carolina Railroad. While serving patients at this location, St. Peter’s Hospital came to be known as the Charlotte Home and Hospital, which only served white patients (Jane Wilkes later aided in the fundraising and founding of Good Samaritan Hospital in 1892 to serve the black community). 

 

In 1877, a single story, four-bedroom permanent facility was built on the corner of Sixth and Popular Streets. In 1907, the facility expanded to twenty-one rooms, five baths, seven closets and several storage roomsBy 1899, Charlotte Home and Hospital returned to its original name, St. Peter’s Hospital, after the organization amended its charter. 

Donations from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church board members and their belief in strengthening Charlotte’s healthcare system enabled the hospital to stay open as their services rapidly expanded. The success of the hospital soon attracted people as far away as New Hampshire and Alabama.