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BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The impetus for the establishment of St. Peter's Hospital was provided by Benjamin S. Bronson, Rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church on N. Tryon St. Having preached a sermon in which he urged his congregation to establish a facility that would provide medical services for the underprivileged of this community, he witnessed the creation of the St. Peter's Church Aid Society on January 25, 1875. Mrs. Jane Renwick Smedburg Wilkes, a native of New York City, directed the efforts of this organization in raising the money necessary to open Charlotte's first civilian hospital. The facility opened on January 20, 1876, in two rented rooms in a house on E. Seventh St. "between College and Railroad." The evidence suggests that this was the first non-military hospital in North Carolina. Initially known as the Charlotte Home and Hospital, the facility moved to new temporary quarters on N. Tryon St. in mid-1876, where the Old First Baptist Church (Spirit Square) is now located. Mrs. Hamilton C. Jones, the Vice President of the St. Peter's Church Aid Society during these early years, described the difficulty with which patients were initially brought to the hospital:

"It is strange to recall the tremendous struggle which the pioneers were called upon to make against prejudice; first of the patient, who had to be almost kidnapped from his relatives, and brought against his own will as well, and secondly, against the opposition of these who lived in the neighborhood, who resented the diseases brought into their midst The first few patients were brought in under resistance so fierce that one of the two or three policemen which the town boasted had always to walk beside the patient, and at times hang around the premises, to intimidate the rioters who threatened to shoot into the building."

In 1922,the three-story porch which stretched across the main facade was replaced by a classical entrance porch, one bay wide, surmounted by a second and third story sunporch.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR

  • Having trouble identifying brick patterns, shingle patterns, or other parts? See the Illustrated Guidebook for help!
  • The third story of the rear of the building was added in 1922. See if you can tell where the older part of the building ends and the 1922 addition begins.
  • Notice the different shapes in the roofline (especially the front pediment and side pediment, which is stepped).

    ACTIVITIES

    At the site...

  • Sketch and identify the brick patterns seen on the building.

    On your own...

  • Compare these two photos, one taken n 1907 and the other in 1997.
    Create a Venn Diagram showing what the 1907 and 1997 buildings have in common, and how they are different.

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