Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (CHH) turned 100 years old this past October 2016 and celebrated a century of caregiving throughout the year with commemoration events, a museum exhibit, a new historic monument, and the publication of a commemorative book.
One of the most exciting events of the anniversary was the discovery and opening of the hospital’s cornerstone box. With the help of some old documents and local businesses, the hospital was able to locate a copper box that was placed in its cornerstone at a 1929 dedication ceremony. The box was opened in front of 200 guests at the hospital’s fall commemoration ceremony and contained early annual reports, coins, several preserved newspapers, and photographs of Charlotte and Uri Hungerford and never before seen construction images. CHH offered special thanks to those who helped make this important discovery possible, including New England Subsurface Imaging who located the original box, O&G Industries Construction Services and Products who assisted in locating the box, and Scoville Plumbing & Heating who carefully unsealed and opened the box.
On February 22, 2017, CHH staff and board members gathered to witness the internment of a new stainless steel box in the hospital’s wall directly behind the original external cornerstone marker. After remarks, Hospital Chairman John Janco placed the box in the wall and hospital staff began work sealing the wall up again. The new box was designed as a replica of the original box by Glenn Fern at M&J Sheet Metal, LLC. The box contained recent anniversary memorabilia, newspapers, annual reports, newsletters, coins, photographs, souvenir programs, a copy of the original bylaws and deed, transcripts of anniversary speeches, and a miniature version of the CHH “Century of Care” 100th Anniversary commemorative book. CHH staff and supporters also included messages and well wishes to their colleges in the future. Hospital officials hope that future individuals will find and open the box in 75 or 100 years and discover the incredible history of caregiving at CHH that awaits in the box.
“In the future, the year 2016 will be remembered as an exciting and hopeful year of celebration and transition. Throughout the year, our staff, physicians, patients and supporters in the region paused on many occasions to take a special and sentimental look back at our history of providing 100 years of caregiving to the communities we serve. Discovering and learning about our history gives us a special sense of the unending partnership we have with those who came before us. Each day, through the work of humble stewards, and the abiding faith of all who care about this place, our Founder Uri Hungerford’s legacy and his mother Charlotte’s spirit still permeate with all of us.” said Brian Mattiello, VP of Organizational Development at CHH.
The anniversary year celebrations were kicked off at a wonderful evening of celebration on September 24th attended by over two hundred guests at the Torrington Country Club featuring cocktails, dinner, a silent auction, and dancing to The Cartels. The event raised over $50,000 that was used to benefit patient care initiatives and to establish a permanent memorial to the hospital founders. In addition, over 150 hospital staff, friends, dignitaries and supporters came together at sunset on October 5th for a special ceremony and live opening of the cornerstone box revealing sealed in the wall 87 years ago. The event included presenters and guests from CHH, places of worship, and city and state offices who presented scripture and historical readings, proclamations, personal recollections, and a tree dedication.
CHH also celebrated a week of history in early October with a special week long pop-up historical exhibit and talks that featured portraits, photographs, artifacts, and historical documents collected by the hospital since its founding. In addition, vintage medical supplies and equipment offered a unique glimpse into early medical technology.
“The anniversary was also a time to display the many historic artifacts and treasures form the hospital’s past. CHH entrusted its oil portraits of namesake Charlotte Austin Hungerford and hospital founder Uri T. Hungerford to the Williamstown Art Conservation Center for restoration. We also reframed many vintage documents including al congratulatory letter signed by Herbert Hoover and photograph of Uri Hungerford that was taken by famed early twentieth century photographer Pirie MacDonald. These are such a special part of our history and they are now preserved for future generations to learn from and enjoy.” said Tim LeBouthillier, Director Community relations and Development at CHH.
As the year concluded, CHH installed and dedicated a permanent memorial and area of reflection in early December just outside the hospital’s front entrance which tells the story of hospital founder Uri Taylor Hungerford and his mother Charlotte. Brass reliefs and biographies are included on a granite obelisk commemorating a century or care are surrounded by two benches inscribed with the words “Honoring our Past” and “Building our Future”.
For local history buffs, a special anniversary commemorative book “Charlotte Hungerford Hospital: A Century of Care: 1916 – 2016” was published chronicling the people, places and events of the last century. This fully illustrated paperback book entitled sells for $30 at the CHH Gift Shop at 540 Litchfield Street, Torrington, with proceeds benefitting patient care programs.
Charlotte Hungerford Hospital is a 109-plus bed, acute care facility serving the regional health care needs of thirty towns in northwest Connecticut. The Hospital was founded in 1916 as gift by industrialist Uri T. Hungerford in memory of his mother Charlotte, who had a “boundless energy and dedication for helping others.” He envisioned a community hospital to be a beacon of hope and a place of comfort for the ill and injured of our region, and through his generosity and support, made it a reality.
CHH offers personalized attention from an expert team of caregivers and physicians that utilize advanced technology and clinical partnerships in a convenient, safe and comfortable patient environment. One Thousand Caregivers, One Job, Your Health. For a full list of offerings and an online physician directory, visit www.charlottehungerford.org.