Since its inception in 1907, Huggins Hospital has led the way in community health care by growing, moving, and evolving in response to changes in health care and the needs of the community. The need for a hospital was determined by Dr. Fred E. Clow and Dr. Curtis B. Cotton. They enlisted the aid of other prominent citizens of the community, including the James Martin Family and a corporation was formed in 1907 in order to build a community hospital. Original incorporators were Blake Folsom, James H. Martin, Stephen W. Clow, Sewall W. Abbott, Wilbra H. Swett, Dr. Fred C. Tobey, Edwin F. Chamberlain, Parry T. Hersey, and Dr. Nathaniel H. Scott. The Newell Jerome house and eleven acres of land near the present site of Kingswood Regional High School was purchased, remodeled as a hospital, and dedicated on December 31, 1907. The hospital had a capacity of 12 beds.
In 1920, the need to expand became apparent. Our current site was a gift from George A. Carpenter to the Board of Trustees. In 1923, James Martin made a challenge gift of $25,000 to build a new hospital. Over $35,000 was raised and, when combined with Martin’s gift, provided the funding for a new hospital. The new 24-bed hospital was dedicated on November 11, 1924, as a memorial to John Huggins, a Wolfeboro resident and brother of Mrs. James Martin. In 1935, the hospital won the approval of the American College of Surgeons, the hallmark for quality in voluntary hospitals.
During World War II, it became evident that additional beds and improved facilities were needed. Through a fundraising campaign and the aid of a federal grant, approximately $750,000 was raised to build a three-story addition, providing 56 beds for patients and a new operating suite, which opened in 1950. Continuing in its efforts to provide modern medical facilities, the hospital constructed an X-ray and clinic wing which opened in June of 1958. In 1961, a new boiler plant was added and during the winter of 1969, an extension to the boiler plant was completed.
In 1966, a long-range planning committee was appointed and after more than a year of work, the committee determined that it was necessary to modernize and expand Huggins. A major new project was undertaken with the groundbreaking for what is now the Sinclair Patient Care Center. This single-story building provided three wings for 82 beds, a new kitchen, and dining facilities. The building was dedicated July 15, 1972, as a memorial to Jennie Sinclair, a life-long Wolfeboro resident who through her years contributed her time, energy, and financial support to Huggins to ensure that the hospital would continue to offer the best medical facilities to the community.
While the completion of the 1972 project satisfied the need for inpatient bed space, the planning committee was aware that in not too many years, improved and expanded facilities for outpatients and emergency patients would be required. An updated, comprehensive long-range plan was developed and presented to the hospital Board of Trustees in 1975. At that time, it was agreed to proceed with the construction of an additional 23,000 square feet of floor space in four building additions to the Sinclair Patient Care Center. The major thrust of the construction was to provide improved and expanded emergency services, X-ray services, and operating and recovery areas. Ground was broken on July 13, 1978 and construction was completed in the spring of 1980, with the dedication of the buildings taking place on June 17, 1980. The emergency services center was named after Edward H. C. Bartsch, a former trustee of Huggins Hospital.
In 1991, the Medical Arts Center was completed which accommodates many of our physicians’ offices, our Cardio Rehabilitation Program, Medication Bridge Program, and a conference room. Since then, several smaller construction projects have been completed in an attempt to keep up with changes in the way health care services are rendered.
Several years ago, the Trustees began seeing some barriers to accessing quality health care services. The current plant was experiencing fatigue with millions of dollars being spent to make repairs and address plant safety requirements. Advances in care were having a much larger focus on outpatient care, keeping patients in their homes rather than as an inpatient, and technology advances in medical imaging, diagnostic tests, and surgical techniques were transforming the provision of health care.
On April 19, 2007, the State of New Hampshire approved the Hospital’s Certificate of Need (CON) application for a new two story, 101,000 square foot, $55 million facility.
On July 8, 2008, Huggins Hospital broke ground for the new hospital. The project was estimated to be completed in spring 2010. The construction of a new hospital for Wolfeboro and the surrounding towns was a significant step forward in meeting the rapidly changing health care needs of our community. As we have from our beginning, Huggins Hospital’s goal continues to be to ensure that our current and future patients, their families, and medical staff have access to the most up-to-date and comprehensive quality health care services.
On May 22, 2010, the new Huggins Hospital opened its doors for a community tour. The next day, May 23rd, the patients were moved from the old hospital to the new and the hospital was open for business. The new hospital has updated, state-of-the-art technology combined with a calming, healing atmosphere of warm colors, lots of natural light and comfortable seating areas.
Just like our founders, Huggins Hospital is committed to providing the best health care possible to all who come to us. Of course, the heart of Huggins Hospital is our staff who care for our patients and their loved ones. Providing a work environment with state-of-the-art technology in a modern, well-lit, and efficiently functioning building allows our highly experienced staff to optimize patient comfort and convenience.