St. Mary's Hospital
In 1924, the Pallottine Missionary Sisters were instructed to open a hospital in Huntington, West Virginia, and St. Mary's Hospital was opened in that same year. The St. Mary's School of Nursing opened in 1926 when the need for nurses for St. Mary's Hospital grew. The students studied and lived within the hospital walls, but by 1945, attendance had grown so much, the need for a bigger space arose. Thus, on October 4, 1947, the St. Mary's School of Nursing opened the doors to its new building, which included both classrooms and living spaces. The School of Nursing stayed in commission until 2009, when the St. Mary's Center for Education was opened at 2825 Fifth Avenue - just blocks away. In 2013, the old building for the School of Nursing was demolished, and extra parking was put in its place.
Backstory and Context
The School of Nursing originally operated from inside St. Mary's Hospital, where students both studied and lived. As attendance of the School of Nursing increased, the hospital was no longer big enough to accommodate both the hospital patients and the nursing students, so the nursing students were moved into a small house on First Avenue, located near the hospital. This practical setup provided the students with housing close to the hospital, also located on First Avenue, where they continued to study. World War II began in 1939, and in the six year span of the war, over 59,000 American nurses enlisted to serve as Army nurses.1 In this time, the St. Mary's School of Nursing saw an increase in attendance as the need for nurses grew due to the war. The small house the hospital had once purchased was no longer large enough for the students; to accommodate the increase in attendance, the hospital purchased two more houses and an old apartment building.2
Six years later, in 1945, the attendance at the St. Mary's School of Nursing was at an all-time high. The living-arrangements were no longer practical for the amount of students the program was educating, and in 1946, ground was broken for the new building for the St. Mary's School of Nursing. Opened on October 14, 1947, the new-and-improved School of Nursing was constructed directly behind St. Mary's Hospital, and included both classrooms and living spaces. Students were able to live and study in the same facility again, with the hospital right across the lot. Years later, doctors even practiced within the building. Over the years, the St. Mary's School of Nursing would see thousands of Nursing, Respiratory, and Radiography graduates. Students would continue to attend the School of Nursing located on First Avenue until 2009, when the St. Mary's Center for Education was opened in the old Big Bear building on Fifth Avenue. The old School of Nursing was torn down in 2013, and the vacant lot was transformed into additional parking. The St. Mary's School of Nursing continues to be the oldest program still in operation in the state of West Virginia.3
2. Casto J.E. Lost Huntington: Old St. Mary's Nursing School. The Herald-Dispatch. August 29, 2016. Accessed November 26, 2017. http://www.herald-dispatch.com/special/lost_huntington/lost-huntington-old-st-mary-s-nursing-school/...
3. School of Nursing. St. Mary's Medical Center. 2017. Accessed November 26, 2017. https://www.st-marys.org/education-training/school-of-nursing/
4. St. Mary's Hospital - School of Nursing Demolition. O'Rourke Demolition. 2017. Accessed November 26, 2017. http://orourkewrecking.com/projects/st-marys-hospital-school-of-nursing-demolition/
5. The Sister Celeste Lynch Memorial Scholarship. The St. Mary's Foundation. 2015. Accessed November 26, 2017. http://www.st-marysfoundation.org/foundation-support/the-sister-celeste-lynch-memorial-scholarship
6. Morris, Patrick. Huntington, WV: You Grew Up In H-town If...St. Mary's School of Nursing. Facebook. April 24, 2016. Accessed November 26, 2017. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1642311065992970/about/