Medical services expanded greatly along with the population, although they were centered in West Palm Beach. Emergency Hospital opened in 1914 for the white population, as reported by The Palm Beach Weekly News:
[It is] splendidly close to the FEC Railway Depot and within a step of the County Road. The building is neat and airy-looking and just what is wanted. … Of the five cozy-looking bedrooms with their white enamel hospital furniture and fixings, one was given by the Entre Nous [Between Us] Club; one by the Carpenter’s Union of West Palm Beach; one, a double-bedded room, by the members of the Congregational Sunday School; [and] one by general public subscription. There is also an operating room, a nurses’ room, a well appointed kitchen and a model bathroom. The porches of this truly modern little hospital are all screened in and everything is usefully but tastefully furnished…
A meeting will soon be held to appoint a regular board of management, when it is announced, a representative from each of the religious bodies in the city will be chosen on same, thus assuring the public of a non-denominational management. It has been suggested that it would be a very graceful act on the part of the city council to donate at least $25 per month to this democratic institution.
In 1916 Pine Ridge Hospital was established to serve African Americans, on the corner of 5th
and Division Avenues. The black community, including seasonal hotel staff, helped raise the funds for the first wooden building, which cost about $1,600. A fan in a large window cooled the sole operating room, on the second floor. Although the equipment at Pine Ridge was inadequate, all the nurses were medically certified, as was hospital superintendent Petra Pinn, a graduate of Tuskegee Institute. Pine Ridge offered the only local hospital care available to blacks during segregation.
Pine Ridge also served as an overflow facility for the all-white Emergency Hospital until 1920, when Good Samaritan Hospital opened with 35 beds at 12th Street (now Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard) and Dixie Highway. Dr. William Ernest Van Landingham (1879-1973), a recent arrival and then secretary of the one-year-old Palm Beach County Medical Society, was a co-founder and the first administrator. Fifty years later, Van Landingham said:
Unless a doctor has been fortunate enough to have had a glimpse of country practice before moving into an urban area, it must be admitted that he really has lost some of the experiences that were commonplace to the doctor of yesteryear and he is also deprived of that nostalgic feeling that we now enjoy for having lived in that age of hardship.
The Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, New York, opened St. Mary’s, a 50-bed hospital, in 1939, and in 1947 assumed responsibility for Pine Ridge Hospital, which had been managed by Good Samaritan.
See Timeline-Hospitals for more early hospital.