Mercy Medical Center (Baltimore, Maryland)
||This article should be divided into sections by topic, to make it more accessible. (April 2014)|
|Mercy Medical Center (formerly Mercy Hospital, earlier: Baltimore City Hospital)|
|Mercy Health Services|
|Location||345 Saint Paul Place,(between North Calvert, East Pleasant, East Saratoga and St. Paul Streets, facing Preston Gardens) Baltimore, Maryland, United States|
|Lists||Hospitals in Maryland|
The landmark Tower Building of the hospital along St. Paul Place to the west of North Calvert Street, opened in 1963 and is located at 301 St. Paul Place. Its form was quite unusual in that the upper two-thirds of the building of tan bricks spread out fifty yards out above the lower five stories. Additionally the Mary Bunting buildings and annexes further north along St. Paul Place and North Calvert Street to East Pleasant Street, and to the next block at the Orleans Street Viaduct (over Bath Street) were built in the mid-2010s with additional parking garages attached.
Historically, Mercy was founded as "Baltimore City Hospital" by six "Sisters of Mercy", a Roman Catholic order of nuns, on November 11, 1874, which was a merger of the Washington University School of Medicine [not the same institution with a similar name now located in St. Louis, Missouri]; (also known as a later re-incarnation of the Washington Medical College of Baltimore and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, earlier institutions from 1870, that the Sisters had been invited to assist with by local doctors. Their buildings were located at the northwest corner of North Calvert and East Saratoga Streets, among which was a former schoolhouse and consisted of a medical dispensary under the later name of "Baltimore City Hospital" ((not to be confused with an earlier Baltimore Town and later municipal "Almshouse" (founded 1773), which relocated to the western city limits and became known as the "Bay View Asylum", and later known by the 1930s as "The Baltimore City Hospitals" off Eastern Avenue beyond the outer city neighborhoods of Highlandtown, Canton and Greektown. It was west of the large suburban areas in Baltimore County of Essex, Middle River, and northwest of Dundalk and Sparrows Point. It was acquired from the City in 1984 by Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins University at the beginning of their joint expanded state-wide medical system, and renamed "Francis Scott Key Medical Center", then later Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center)). A collection of Baltimore City Hospitals' papers can be found at the National Library of Medicine.
Initially, the Mercy Hospital expanded to the north with buildings along Calvert Street towards East Pleasant Street. By the mid-1950s, the Hospital acquired the former structures to the west along St. Paul Street/former Courtland Street, north of East Saratoga and south of East Pleasant Streets, which housed the offices of the Baltimore City Department of Public Welfare (later known as Social Services). This agency had been recently established as the concern of the welfare and economic and social support of its citizens increased greatly during the turmoil and travails of the "Great Depression" beginning in 1929 with the Wall Street financial collapse, soup and bread lines, shanty towns in the public parks, and massive unemployment by the early 1930s. The City of Baltimore, like other major American cities, under the leadership of committed Mayors James H. Preston, (1911-1919), William F. Broening, (1919-1923, 1927-1931), Howard W. Jackson,(1923-1927, 1931-1943), Theodore R. McKeldin,(1943-1947, 1963-1967), and Thomas L. J. D'Alesandro, (1947-1959), along with the newly active Federal Government under the "New Deal" policies of the Democratic administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, moved to serve Baltimoreans with unusually severe needs unseen in American history. These buildings had served the poor and destitute of Baltimore for several decades and a newer renovated structure was now being created on Greenmount Avenue near East Oliver Streets by the Green Mount Cemetery in the early 1950s. So the old Public Welfare structures were available for Mercy to expand into temporarily and later to replace with a new landmark symbol and tower.
The Courtland Street/St. Paul Place buildings had originally been built as the first home in the late 1880s for the new "Baltimore Manual Training School", the city's first public high school for vocational, mathematical, science and technical education. Shortly after its founding in 1883, the school became known as the "Baltimore Polytechnic Institute" or "Poly". By 1912, the Polytechnic Institute had grown enough and had a sophisticated curriculum with additional educational, industrial and technical needs, so B.P.I. moved to East North Avenue (the former Boundary Avenue and city limits) at North Calvert Street to take over the old Maryland School for the Blind, a large multi-storied mansion to which two wings were added by the Baltimore City Public School system with classical columns and porticoes, where "Poly" existed for several more generations of boys to 1967.
Eventually the Mercy medical hospital and nursing school expanded to the west along East Saratoga Street to the neighboring former Courtland Street, which was renamed when the nearby blocks of small Georgian/Federal townhouses from the 1820s and '30s, between Courtland and St. Paul Streets (a block further west) were renamed as "Saint Paul Place" when the razed five square blocks, north to south, (between East Lexington Street and the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouses in the south to East Centre Street in the north) were re-developed into the terraced "Preston Gardens", named after Mayor James H. Preston as Baltimore's first example of "urban renewal" in the late 1920s, pre-dating the traditional thought of post-World War II "slum clearance" and housing "re-development".
- Baltimore City Hospitals Records (1952-1965)—National Library of Medicine finding aid