December 2: Children’s Hospital (1870)

A bronze plaque with the following inscription is attached to a modern day office building at the corner of 13th and G Streets, N.W. “Here stood the first Children’s Hospital of Washington, D.C. Opened as a rented rowhouse in 1871, the hospital had a capacity of 12 beds and had only four doctors on staff. Now internationally recognized, Children’s National Medical Center is proud to have been a part of the D.C. community for more than a century.” On December 2, 1870, the “Children’s Hospital of the District of Columbia” was incorporated. The object stated was “to establish and maintain in the District of Columbia a hospital and dispensary for the gratuitous medical and surgical treatment of indigent children under the age of 12 years, without distinction of race, sex, or creed.” It was provided that sick children, whose parents or guardians were able to defray the expense of care may be admitted to the hospital a well. After the first location mentioned on the aforementioned plaque, a building with more ample accommodations was rented on E Street. The number of children seeking admission increased so rapidly that in 1875 the current site was purchased and has been the home of the hospital ever since.

It will come as no surprise that an outreach enterprise such as this with an initial location almost across the street, that people from Epiphany were involved in the hospital from the beginning. Dr. James Crowdhill Hall, described as “a skillful, conscientious, and benevolent physician, more willing to render service to the suffering poor that to receive remuneration,” was a member of the first board of directors and left a significant bequest to the hospital upon his death. Dr. Hall was buried from Epiphany in 1880. Joining Dr. Hall on the first board of directors were fellow parishioners General Edward Townsend and Lewis Davis, the latter being Epiphany’s Senior Warden at the time. By a gift of $100 each, parishioners John G. Parke, Sarah Coleman, and Margaret Coleman Freeman endowed a bed in the hospital for one year.

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