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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

FOREST CITY HOSPITAL - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

FOREST CITY HOSPITAL, established as a 103-bed general hospital, was called Cleveland's first interracial hospital. In 1939 the Forest City Hospital Assn. was formed by a group of black physicians to raise support for a hospital free of color restrictions which would offer black doctors the opportunity to participate in the total operations of a hospital. In 1954 the association received support from the Cleveland Hospital Fund and broke ground on the site of old Glenville Hospital. Forest City Hospital opened in 1957. Among the founders were Dr. U. G. Mason, Dr. MIDDLETON H. LAMBRIGHT†, Walter M. Weil, and Dr. SAMUEL O. FREEDLANDER†. William G. Laffer, president of the CLEVITE CORP., was a leading fundraiser. The hospital was governed by a 30-member Board of Trustees and a 35-member medical advisory board.

Forest City provided departments of medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, general practice, x-ray, laboratory, out-patient, and emergency facilities. By the late 1950s, Glenville had become predominantly African American. Of the 53 doctors on active staff, 50% were white; most of the other employees were black. Because of its neighborhood and staff, Forest City was generally perceived as a "colored hospital." Through its first 10 years, the hospital had an average bed occupancy of 70%. Despite the fine acute and ambulatory health services, its reputation suffered. Criticism of the physical layout led to a campaign in 1967 to renovate and double the beds. But by the early 1970s admissions declined and the plan was dropped. Forest City then placed greater emphasis on out-patient services, including high-quality emergency care, 2 or 3 mobile units, dental, podiatry, and eye services, and specialized supportive services. As admissions continued to decline and black doctors found their place in other Cleveland hospitals, the hospital's role diminished, and Forest City Hospital closed in 1978.


Last Modified: 16 Jul 1997 02:34:29 PM

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