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Champlain Valley Hospital

At the turn of the century, there was no organized hospital to provide medical care for the sick and injured residents of Plattsburgh and its surrounding communities. In 1902, the Order of the Grey Nuns of the Cross began a project that dramatically changed the availability of the medical services in the Champlain Valley. The Grey Nuns had arrived in Plattsburgh from Ottawa, Canada in 1860 for the purpose of opening the D'Youville Academy, a training school for Grey Nuns. Realizing the need for a community hospital, as well as a school, the Grey Nuns approached Smith M. Weed, General Stephen Moffitt, Hon. J.B. Riley, and other citizens of vision with the idea of founding a hospital in Plattsburgh. Since the idea interested them, they promised to help finance the project and encourage other citizens in the area to do the same.

Champlain Valley Hospital

In 1903, the Reverend Mother Ann of Jesus, an experienced administrator from the Order's headquarters in Ottawa, was assigned to organize the hospital project. Her task was not easy. The entire building project was to be privately funded and required wide community support. For this reason, the building, incorporated in 1903 as the Plattsburgh City Hospital, was soon renamed the Champlain Valley Hospital. The founders thought the new name better reflected the broad geographical area the hospital would serve and from which it would draw its support.

After diligent planning and active fund raising, the cornerstone for the Champlain Valley Hospital was laid on July 2, 1906. The total cost of building and equipping the CVH was $129,500, of which $59,233 was donated by more than 500 area residents. Perhaps the most notable contributor was Loyal L. Smith, a local businessman, whose legacy was responsible for the completion of the medical facility.

Before any patients were admitted, the new hospital hosted a visitor's weekend on June 11 and 12, 1910. In spite of threatening weather, a continuous stream of sightseers passed through its doors and toured the long, well-lit corridors. They saw freshly painted rooms equipped to care for 120 patients. On June 22, 1910, The Champlain Valley Hospital officially opened its doors and began providing medical care to area residents.

Champlain Valley Hospital

Although staffed by Grey Nuns, the Champlain Valley Hospital was established as a nonsectarian, general hospital. All patients were welcomed regardless of religious affiliation or ability to pay. On its Medical Staff and Board of Directors were individuals representing many faiths. The hospital was a privately funded facility under the aegis of the Board of Charities of The State of New York. Its constitution set broad and generous goals for the hospital by establishing a facility "affording medical and surgical aid to sick and disabled persons of every creed, nationality, and color."

John H. Moffitt, a local iron mine owner and Chairman of the Board of the Champlain Valley Hospital, remembered the Grey Nuns as a group who "ministered to the sick and unfortunate tirelessly and efficiently .....these noble women....devoted their energies to the labor of love and service." Throughout the 1940's and 1950's, the CVH met this objective. In 1955, responding to increased demand for its services, the hospital built a three story addition. During this period, the hospital was known in the community for its delivery of compassionate and sensitive patient care. In the early 1960's, the hospital was beginning to experience financial difficulties brought on by rapidly rising costs of providing health care services and the escalating expense of maintaining the original hospital building.

In 1963, an era of devoted service came to an end. The Grey Nuns, who contributed to our community for 103 years, were assigned to serve in areas of greater need. Responsibility for management of the CVH then passed to a lay administrator. For 56 years, the Champlain Valley Hospital had served the community's health care needs. By the mid 1960's, however, the hospital and its equipment were suffering from the effects of age and the original hospital building did not conform to modern regulatory standards.

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