The City New Martinsville was chartered in 1838, Wetzel County Hospital Association in 1920. New Martinsville’s first hospital was privately owed by Dr. Martin Luther Fittrow and was located on Jefferson Street. It was really a clinic that Fittrow used as a hospital when it was absolutely necessary for patients to be observed constantly. At that time, tonsillectomies were unknown and were treated as sore throats. When Fittrow left New Martinsville, both New Martinsville and Wetzel County were without hospital services. During this period, sick people were treated in their homes and in local physician offices.
The motivation for the first hospital was through the Reverend Doctor Samuel Charles Jones, minister of the First Methodist Church. The original Wetzel County Hospital was a valuable and welcome addition to the community life.
In 1920, fifteen New Martinsville men and one man from Green Hill applied to West Virginia Secretary of State, Houston G. Young, for certificate of incorporation to operate what is now known as Wetzel County Hospital.
The objects and purposes listed in the 1920 charter application were; to establish, equip, operate, and maintain a hospital, in which sick, diseased and afflicted persons are to be treated and cared for; to establish, maintain, and conduct in said hospital a training school for nurses, to graduate such on satisfactory completion of said training; and to generally do and perform all things necessary and useful in the conduct of a general hospital for the treatment and care of the sick and training school for nurses.
The names of those men who signed the charter application were; C.W. Founds, J.O. Eakin, J.C. Freelich, A. D. Thurber, C.T. Gorby, G. Snodgrass, G.M. Wood, R.F. White, R.E. Bartlett, A.E. McCaskey, I.D. Morgan, N.N. Oblinger, A.C. Thomas, D. Fisher, C.H. Fitzwater, and S.C. Jones.
The charter was given under the hand of Secretary of State Young, accompanied by the seal of West Virginia at Charleston, April 9, 1920.
On April 12, 1920, the first official business meeting of the newly chartered corporation was held. The following men were elected to original hospital Board; D. Fisher, S.C. Jones, C.T. McMond, G.M. Wood, J. Stender, P.D. Morris, J.O. Eakin, W.J. Williamson, J.C. Freelich, C.M. Founds, J. Schupbach, A. Thomas, F. Clark, C.H. Wright, J.D. Morgan, H. Koontz, N. Oblinger, J.E. Bartlett, and H.N. Brouse.
In 1936, the Hospital was moved to its second location where the original unit consisted of operating and emergency facilities, a bed capacity of 25 and 8 bassinets. Among the physicians using these facilities in 1936 were; Drs. F.E. Martin, J.O. Theiss, J.M. Hornbrook, L.P. Stanley, J.W. Pyles, T.B. Gordon, E.C. Blum, and J.S. Schmeid.
In 1952, as this area continued to develop in the prosperity of the post World War II era, it was necessary to enlarge the Wetzel County Hospital. This was done by the application of local funds to the Hill-Burton Act which was created to help cities, counties, or political units build hospitals. The Act was gathered by Senator Lister Hill of Alabama. The 1952 additional included the basement facilities and a two story addition, increasing the bed capacity to 55, and the nursery bassinets to 12. Money for this addition was obtained from local industry.
In the late 1950’s it was discovered at a meeting of the State Board of Health that funds had been granted to a hospital in another West Virginia city, and Wetzel County Hospital was unable to comply with the necessary qualifications for acceptance. Senator Ted Bowers contacted the Wetzel County Hospital Board and with their approval, asked that funds be channeled to the local hospital. These dollars were appropriated and matched by the generous community of New Martinsville and surrounding area. Money was also donated by the Ford Foundation.
Work was begun and in 1960 completed, bringing the bed complement to 81, adding many needed features and bringing central oxygen top most of the beds.
Upon completion of the expansion of the facility on State Route 2, planning began on its replacement. The current Wetzel County Hospital facilities located at 3 East Benjamin Drive, were completed on May 23, 1979. Since the dedication of the facility, services such as Nuclear Medicine, Ultrasound, CT Scanning, Respite Care, Cardiac Rehabilitation and others have been added.
Several services were affordable due to the community once again coming to the aid of the Hospital. In January, 1988 a campaign entitled “Partners For Life, The Campaign For Wetzel County Hospital was initiated with nearly $600,000 being pledged. The dollars being raised are for the construction of a helipad, purchase of a new CT Scanner, new ultrasound and mammography equipment and others.
1990 - New Lobby
1992 - Homecare Opened
1995 - TCU Opened (Hospital became licensed 68 beds)
1998 - Inhouse Physical Therapy
1999 - New CT and Mobile MRI Services
1998 - 1999 - Physician Recruitment of OB/GYN, Internal Medicine, Pediatrician, and Family Practice/OB