A Strong History of Community Support
Nothing characterizes Southwest General's community support more dramatically than its founding as The Community Hospital in 1920. Its creation followed a post-World War I flu epidemic during which many area residents died while being transported to the nearest Cleveland hospital. Convinced of the need for a local hospital, citizens of the southwest Cleveland area rallied to raise $100,000 in 10 days to build a 32-bed hospital in Berea.
The Early Years
For five years, until construction of the new hospital was completed, patients were cared for in Sprague Haven, an eight-bed facility established in a home formerly owned by the Sprague family in Berea.
The new community hospital opened on the corner of Bagley and Front streets in 1925. It had 32 beds and eight bassinets and sufficed until 1945, when the first addition was made to increase the capacity to 107 beds and 34 bassinets. Seven more additions and two name changes later, the hospital had grown to 166 beds. With no land remaining for expansion and a rapidly growing community to serve, a 22-acre site was purchased in neighboring Middleburg Heights upon which to construct a new 235-bed replacement hospital.
The new Southwest General Hospital was opened in 1975. It was constructed in part using funds from a self-imposed tax levy, supported by six communities in Southwest General's service area. The new facility, the health center's current location, was eventually expanded to 325 beds through an addition in 1983, 336 beds in 1994, 340 beds in 2000, 354 beds in 2006 and today stands at 358 beds.
In 1994, Southwest General Hospital changed its name to Southwest General Health Center to reflect its growing role in promoting wellness in the communities it serves.
The Symbol of the Mighty Oak
Situated on Old Oak Boulevard, with grounds once graced by 200-year-old oak trees, the health center continues to use the oak tree as part of its logo. Through the years, the tree has come to symbolize the strength, endurance and growth that are the Southwest General heritage.
Watch our Story
View a video of Southwest General's creation and development into a nationally recognized facility in our media center on the right.