Harrisburg Hospital, the city's first public hospital, opened in the former South Ward School building in 1873, beginning a course that today makes Harrisburg a major health and research center. The school faced Mulberry Street (now vacated) which paralleled the Cumberland Valley Railroad line allowing emergency access for the infirmed who traveled there by rail. The first main hospital building, which was added to the west side of the school and faced S. Front Street, was completed in 1884. Over the following century, the hospital grew through the consolidation of land and the vacating of adjacent streets and alleys, until it consumed essentially all of the real estate between Front and Second Streets and south from Chestnut Street to Mary Street. The 1884 Queen Anne-styled original hospital building, through dwarfed by its newer surroundings, managed to survive until 1976 when it was demolished for the new main entrance facilities and access area to this now nationally-acclaimed medical complex, that is the flagship of Pinnacle Health System, its owner.
The original Harrisburg Hospital building survived until 1976. Note the South Ward School to the rear in which the hospital was first established.
This 1920 postcard view looking east from Riverfront Park shows early growth of hospital complex.