Kentucky Baptist Hospital


The Kentucky Baptist Hospital opened its doors in late 1924. During the opening ceremony, the president of the Kentucky Medical Society, Dr. J. Rice Cowan, went on to say that, “This building will stand as a memorial of the great Baptist organization, but its purpose and mission will commemorate the teaching of the Man of Nazareth in a monument more lasting than bronze or stone.” By the time Kentucky Baptist Hospital had opened its doors, the Southern Baptists had twenty-four hospitals with a total of 6,000 beds. Located on Barret (now Barrett) and DeBarr, the 150-bed facility began accepting patients on the 15th of November. At the time, the cost of construction of the hospital was around $600,000, exceeding initial estimates and approximately half of that was borrowed monies. Just days later, the hospital accepted its first admitted patients. The property the hospital was built on was the former Hutchings Estate according to a historical article published by the Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky).

Nursing Students Waiting to Receive Diplomas, Left-Right are Director of Nursing, Mrs. Marie Wilson, Geraldine Coomer, and Ruth Anne Schindler (From the Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, 21 August 1962)

Similar to other hospitals and medical facilities throughout the country, the Kentucky Baptist Hospital School of Nursing trained graduate nurses. As time progressed, the hospital grew and by the mid-1950s, the Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah, Kentucky and then the Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky were established. By the end of the 1960s, the three Baptist hospitals became the network of Baptist Hospitals Inc. Other hospitals such as Tri-County Community Hospital and the Corbin Municipal Hospital, among several others, would join the Baptist network of hospitals. Today, it is known as Baptist Health and its hospitals have more than two thousand licensed beds throughout Kentucky.

In July of 1971, the Louisville Times announced plans for the new Kentucky Baptist hospital located in St. Matthews that would eventually become Baptist East, The Barret Avenue hospital would be renamed Baptist Hospital Highlands in later years. In 1987 when after several years of decreasing lower patient numbers, the original Baptist Hospital merged with Baptist East. The following year, the old Jefferson County government purchased the property for $3.2 million for use as the Central Government Center. This new building held the county election offices, county morgue, and DMV.

With the Louisville and Jefferson County merger in 2003, many of the offices were transferred or scaled back into other are branches in the area. In recent years, the old hospital was found to contain black mold and other environmental concerns which precipitated the buildings full closing in 2016.

Simple Ceremonies Mark Dedication in Louisville of Handsome New Kentucky Baptist Hospital. Left-Right are Dr. M. P. Hunt, Secretary of the Board, Dr. Calvin M. Thompson, Secretary to State Board of Missions, and DR. E. Y. Mullins, President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. (From Caufield & Shook via the Owensboro Messenger, Owensboro, Kentucky, 23 November 1924)

Contributed by Shawn Logan & Jay Gravatte |

⁘ Works Cited ⁘

  1. The Lexington Leader, 9 December 1949
  2. The Lexington Leader, 12 December 1952
  1. The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), 28 August 2016, p. A22.

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