Eastern Shore Hospital Center History
The Eastern Shore State Hospital (ESSH) had it’s beginning in 1912 as a result of the General Assembly's decision to provide care for the mentally ill residents of the Eastern Shore counties of Maryland. Approximately 250 acres of farmland on the banks of the Choptank River was purchased on which the hospital was built. The ground breaking was in 1913, with the original buildings completed March 1915. In May of that same year, 203 patients were transferred to ESSH from Springfield and Spring Grove State Hospitals and Cherry Hill Asylum.
The physical growth of hospital buildings continued for several decades and the average daily population increased steadily to 675-680 patients in 1956. By the early 1970s, the patient census had dropped to approximately 420, primarily due to a focused effort on deinstitutionalization. On July 1, 1973, the Eastern Shore State Hospital became known as the Eastern Shore Hospital Center (ESHC). ESHC has been fully accredited since May 1967. In November 1993, the hospital moved from assigning patients to their units by geography to a treatment oriented system. In the mid-1990s, the hospital’s site was considered for public economic development. In order to allow for development while continuing to provide necessary mental health services, another site of land was purchased and funding was appropriated to build a new ESHC.
Chronology of Eastern Shore Hospital Center’s Superintendents
Dr. Charles T. Carey 1913-1936
Dr. Kenneth B. Jones 1937-1940
Dr. Charles V. Taylor 1940-1945
Dr. Robert E. Gardner 1945-1947
Dr. Robert B. May 1947-1950
Dr. Robert E. Blackwelder 1950-1952
Dr. George E. Currier 1953-1960
Dr. George H. Longley 1960-1962
Dr. Harold M. English 1962- 1982
Mr. David W. Leap 1982-1993
Ms. Mary K. Noren 1993 – 2010
Mr. Donald K. Simpson 2010 - 2012
Mr. Randy L. Bradford 2012 - Present
Pictured are two of the original buildings opened in 1915. The numerous brick “chimneys” are actually ventilators. The hospital was nicknamed “tall chimneys” as a result.
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