Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Passavant Celebrates 50th Birthday Hospital History on Display in Lobby

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Passavant Celebrates 50th Birthday Hospital History on Display in Lobby

Article excerpt

The doors of Passavant Hospital in McCandless opened on Feb. 24, 1964, culminating years of work by North Hills volunteers to have the new facility built in their area in a campaign dubbed "Bring It North."

Fifty years later, the campus barely resembles the original facility, but hospital and McCandless administrators continue to recognize the importance of the hospital to the region.

"This started as a small community hospital that was the right thing at that time and has grown and changed along with the changes in our community to be the outstanding hospital that it is," said Toby Cordek, McCandless manager.

In 1849, the Rev. William Passavant and a young seminary student who treated soldiers returning from the Mexican War founded the Pittsburgh Infirmary on the North Side. After a cholera outbreak, the hospital moved into a former school building in Lacyville, which is now the Hill District.

The name of the hospital was changed in 1899, according to Kristina Harris, an intern with the Passavant Foundation at the present hospital, UPMC Passavant. She has been researching the hospital's history since August and has created a showcase in the lobby.

She said the hospital decided to move out of the lower Hill District because of the pending construction of the Civic Arena and in recognition of the number of young families who were moving to the suburbs.

Patricia Kutcher of the Passavant board of trustees was a volunteer on the campaign to bring Passavant to the North Hills. She credited a petition by the group that contained more than 16,000 signatures as a major factor in the decision to move the hospital north.

As a new mother in 1960 who lived in Pine, Mrs. Kutcher said supporters believed the north suburbs needed a hospital to serve young families.

Another important factor was the donation of 42 acres by the Robert G. Jackson family in memory of Mr. Jackson's aunt, Sarah Jackson Black, she said. The family donated 65 adjacent acres in 1970.

Linda Lear was a college student when her parents, James and Henrietta D. Lear of Shaler, now deceased, were active in the campaign.

"My father had been approached by the Lutheran sisters who were running the hospital to help them find a location. …

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