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.