From A Railroad Hospital to the Region’s Healthcare Leader – A Rich History of Serving the Alleghany Community.
The history of LewisGale Regional Health System’s current physical location dates only to 1979, the year the Hospital opened with 204 beds. But the region’s medical services’ history stretches all the way back to 1897 when the C&O Railroad established its Chesapeake and Ohio Hospital in Clifton Forge’s “Gladys Inn.”
This 50-bed hospital with just a surgeon, intern and five nurses, served the community well as its first hospital until 1916 when construction began on a larger, 90-bed C&O Hospital.
Just 15 years later, the City of Covington saw the need for its own hospital and Dr. William Preston Burton spearheaded the efforts to build the area’s second hospital – the 12-bed Covington Hospital that opened in 1931. Around that same time, Clifton Forge’s original C&O Hospital was experiencing growth of its own, and in the mid 1930’s, broke ground on a new 50-bed wing.
The following decade brought both expansion and tragedy to the area’s medical community. A new Covington Hospital was built in 1941 to replace the original 12-bed facility that Dr. Burton had helped open just 10 years earlier. Sadly, Dr. Burton was killed in a plane crash in 1946. To honor his commitment to and achievements for the area, the citizens of Covington and Alleghany County purchased the five-year-old Covington Hospital as a memorial and renamed it the Alleghany Memorial Hospital.
The 1950’s saw two hospitals continuing to serve the region – Alleghany Memorial and the C&O. In 1953, the C&O began another expansion to its 1916 building, this time enlarging the facility to 205 beds.
The ‘70s were a time of change for both hospitals. The C&O Hospital was renamed the Emmett Memorial Hospital in 1971 in memory of Dr. John M. Emmett, a leader in the institution’s development. By 1976, however, the community recognized the need to merge the two hospitals and The Alleghany Regional Hospital Corporation was formed. Ground was broken for the current Alleghany Regional Hospital in 1977 and two years later, the Hospital opened in its current location in Low Moor with 204 beds.
The change theme continued into the ‘90s at Alleghany Regional Hospital, beginning in 1993 with a 30,700-square-foot expansion and the renovation of outpatient service areas. In 1995, Nashville-based HCA purchased the Hospital and the proceeds from that sale were used to establish the Alleghany Foundation. With current assets of more than $60 million, the Foundation has, in turn, funneled grants totaling more than $20 million back into the community.
Today, the Hospital is the second-largest private employer in Alleghany County and its parent company, HCA, is the fourth largest private employer in Virginia.
With a rich history of commitment to serving the community’s medical needs and continued change a certainty for the future, LewisGale Hospital at Alleghany's team of healthcare professionals remains committed to improving the well-being of its community by providing the best health care possible.