Photographs Celebrate Hospital History


Amy Pickren, director of inpatient services at Harrison County Community Hospital, is not sure whether to describe the photographs recently displayed in her department as “new” or “old”.

Eight large, framed images showing patient care at Noll Memorial Hospital in the 1950s are now permanently displayed in the hallway outside the hospital’s patient rooms.

The photographs have sparked many conversations with patients and visitors, Pickren said.

“People have been excited to recognize the 1950s doctors, nurses and other staff in the images,” she explained.

Longtime Bethany physicians Merriam Gearhart and Watkins Broyles are pictured in some images. Other photographs show nurses in their 1950s-era uniforms, the nursery full of cribs and the hospital’s original laboratory and X-ray equipment.

The photographs were taken by Al Keller, who had a studio in Bethany for many years. They were first published in a booklet showcasing the services available in the newly opened Noll Memorial Hospital.

Noll Memorial Hospital, which was established in 1955, became Harrison County Community Hospital in the early 1990s.

“The images are a time capsule showing the dramatic advancements in medicine and nursing over the past 60 years,” said Tina Gillespie, the hospital’s chief executive officer.

“From one generation to the next, our roots in the community have grown stronger, and these striking images illustrate how long we have been caring for the residents of our region,” Gillespie added.

Local photographer Tom Strade had Keller’s the original negatives in his archives and was able produce the high-quality prints for the hospital to display.

The framed images were donated by the HCCH Auxiliary. Auxiliary volunteers raise funds by operating the gift shop located in the hospital lobby.

The Auxiliary uses profits from the gift shop and membership dues to purchase items for HCCH and to provide scholarships for local students pursuing degrees that will lead to careers in health care.

Pictured: Ilene Smith, president of the HCCH Auxiliary, and Amy Pickren, director of HCCH’s inpatient services, stand in front of two of the historic images now displayed at the hospital.

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