The First 300

Bryn Mawr Hospital

Photo c. 1900 of the first Bryn Mawr Hospital, established in 1893, designed by Frank Furness.

The actual beginnings of the plan to build the hospital, which had long been a desire of Dr. George S. Gerhard, an Ardmore physician, took shape at a tea party hosted by Mr. Rodman Griscom of Merion Square.

After some initial fund raising, they then applied for a charter in January of 1892. It was duly accepted and incorporated two months later.

Bryn Mawr Site

Next, from the initial contributions, was the purchase of a two acre lot on the corner of Bryn Mawr Avenue and County Line Road from C. Warner Arthur for $7,900. This location was chosen because Bryn Mawr was a favorite town for people from the city to visit in the summer. The Bryn Mawr Hotel, the Summit Grove Hotel, the Buck Tavern and the Whitehall Hotel were some of the best known establishments in the area.

The generosity of the members of the community was exceptional and the actual construction of the hospital was oversubscribed. It must be noted, in addition to cash gifts, many generously donated various hospital supplies to outfit their new institution.

A Furness Classic

The new building, designed by Frank Furness, was ultra-modern with an elevator and electric lights. Henry Frorer’s construction firm used native gray stone in the construction of this important addition to the Main Line. When the hospital opened, Dr. George S. Gerhard and Dr. Robert C. Gamble were in charge of the public’s needs. In 1905, a medical laboratory was installed and a school of nursing opened.

Today, the Gerhard Building, the first Main Line hospital for the general public, stands surrounded by new and larger buildings that make up the Bryn Mawr Hospital complex with its multitude of up-to-date medical services.

Rare 1890s photo of a horse-drawn ambulance.
Motorized ambulance, c. 1909.
1920s view of a ward in the Bryn Mawr Hospital.
1947 rendering of the Bryn Mawr Hospital complex.