Catholic Orphans' Home


St. Mary's Hospital opened in 1924 in a building that had housed a boys' prep
school and, before that, a Catholic Orphanage.


HUNTINGTON -- In June 1924, Bishop John S. Swint of Wheeling invited the
Pallottine Missionary Sisters to open a hospital in Huntington.
To house the new hospital, the Sisters were offered the
 building that then housed St. Edward's Preparatory
 School of Boys. The building at 3rd Avenue
 and 29th Street had been built in 1905
as an orphanage, conducted for a
time by a group of French nuns.

The orphanage proved unsuccessful, and in 1909 the building became the Preparatory
School for Boys. It was under the care of the secular clergy of the diocese,
 with Rev. John W. Werninger serving as the first president. In the 1910
 Census Rev. John P. White was listed as an assistant and teacher.
The school had 24 students. Like the orphanage,
 the boys' school ultimately failed.

There were actually two buildings on the property at the time. The Sisters
 chose the larger structure for their hospital, and the gynasium
was remodeled to serve as a convent for the Sisters.

The first sisters to arrive were two teachers - Srs. Kostka Hansen and Ludwiga Adler.
They worked hard to clean and repair the rundown buildings. This was a huge
 undertaking, as windows had been knocked out, the wallpaper was
hanging from the walls, and the buildings were infested with
 rats and roaches. By November the entire staff of
 Sisters was in residence in the old gym.

On November 6, 1924, the 35-bed hospital welcomed its first
 patients. Fittingly the first patient was a charity case.

What's known today as St. Mary's Medical Center has grown dramatically
 since it first opened its doors. Today, it's the largest medical facility
 in Huntington, Cabell County's largest private employer (more
 than 2,600 employees) and, at 393 beds, is among the
 largest health care facilities in West Virginia.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Nov. 13, 2017.


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