Today’s Brooklyn Hospital Center on the western edge of Fort Greene Park started life as the Brooklyn City Hospital in 1845. Chartered by the state legislature as a private, charitable institution, and has never been supported by the City or State. The institution arose from community interest in a quality, local hospital for young Brooklyn. Raising funds proved to be a challenge, but by 1852, the first edifice was built to accommodate 160 patients in the lot bounded by Raymond Street (now Ashland Place), Canton Street (now Brooklyn Tech Place), and DeKalb Avenue.
Brooklyn City Hospital was one of the first hospitals to have a public medical library and, by 1858, a separate building for the study of pathology. It cared for wounded American soldiers in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II. Indigent patients were accepted from all over at reduced charges or for free. A training school for nurses was established in 1880 and a local ambulance service in 1890.
Grounds being purchased (those at present occupied), west of Washington Park,…the corner stone of the Brooklyn City Hospital was laid in the summer of 1851, and the edifice sufficiently advanced for occupancy and use in the following April, when it was formally opened. Only one wing was completed; the other was left to be built when wanted.
Since then the remaining wing has been added (in 1855), and many other improvements made. The building now presents, from its elevated and beautiful site, a noble appearance, on Raymond Street, a little north of De Kalb Avenue.
Those who have had to do with the establishment of this hospital may well be satisfied with its present (1862) state of completeness. This entire structure consists of a main or central building, with the extensions on the north and south side…
Walt Whitman in Brooklyniana XVI
The Brooklyn Standard (1861)
✮ ✮ ✮