Mar 182013

– by guest blogger, Chrissie Perella, iSchool grad student and intern extraordinaire

In the 1930s, Philadelphia was home to over 63 hospitals and medical schools. A 1930 book entitled Philadelphia: World’s Medical Centre proudly proclaimed: “This book typifies the tremendous growth of Philadelphia’s institutions in the field of medical science and proves conclusively its right to the title – World’s Medical Centre.” The entire book can be browsed here (at Internet Archive) where one can read about the “history of the outstanding achievements of Philadelphia as a medical center.”

So what do some of these former hospitals and medical schools look like today? With the help of tools such as HistoryPin and Google Maps, we can explore the now and then. We’ve been plotting the hospitals and medical schools – it’s exciting to see how much buildings and neighborhoods have changed in 80 years! You can view our collection of hospitals on our HistoryPin channel drexelmedarchives and check it out – or view a map at drexelmedarchives on Google. Below you’ll find some very familiar buildings, the way they once were.

Rush Building, 1931
Photo source: Hess, Wenzel J. “Public Works-32150-0-.” 1931. Philadelphia City Archives. Philadelphia Department of Records. 1 Jan. 2006
Drexel University’s Rush Building was formerly known as the Rush Hospital for Consumption and Allied Diseases. The Rush Hospital was founded in 1890 and operated until 1961, when Drexel University acquired the building for its Institute of Technology.
See the then-and-now street view at HistoryPin
The famous Mütter Museum was once called the College of Physicians and Surgeons and is now known as the Museum and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. This was actually the sixth building the College occupied; it moved here in 1909. The College continues to educate the public and medical professionals through its Museum and Historical Medical Library.
See the then-and-now street view at HistoryPin
Mütter Museum, ca. 1930
Hahnemann Medical College, ca. 1930 Hahnemann Medical College was founded in 1848 and was the first to teach homeopathic medicine in the United States. Today, Hahnemann is a part of Drexel University College of Medicine and we hold the Hahnemann records since pre-founding. Still located on Broad Street above Race, the building is barely recognizable from its 1930 self.
See the then-and-now street view at HistoryPin
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is still located at 3400 Spruce Street. But the hospital, founded in 1871, once accommodated only 587 patients!
See the then-and-now street view at HistoryPin
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, ca. 1930
St. Agnes Hospital, ca. 1930 St. Agnes Hospital at Broad and Mifflin was founded in 1879. Until recently it cared for patients requiring extended hospital stays. The building was bought in June 2012 and may soon include a branch of Children’s Hospital and an adult day care center.
See the then-and-now street view at HistoryPin


> Page through Philadelphia: World’s Medical Centre at Internet Archive

> View the plotted locations of all the hospitals at Google Maps

> Check out the past and present photos on HistoryPin

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.