Controversy to Concurrence: The Modern and Current UC Health Holmes Hospital

By: Nathan Hood

DSCN1137 edited

Christian R. Holmes Hospital,
opened May of 1929.
This photo serves as a link to the Winkler Center blog, “The Origin and Evolution of The Christian R. Holmes Hospital.”

The Christian R. Holmes Hospital opened in May of 1929, but it wasn’t until the University of Cincinnati’s proposal process for a new Holmes Hospital Auxiliary building that any serious controversy arose over the Holmes Hospital’s modern function. As has been enumerated before, from the time of its opening the Holmes Hospital was intended to function as a private institution exclusively utilized by the College of Medicine faculty. The Hospital has long since been converted to an extension of the University Hospital; but its history, even still contentious today, is definitely worth understanding because of its pivotal role in sculpting the University medical institution Cincinnati knows today.

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The Origin and Evolution of The Christian R. Holmes Hospital

By Nathan Hood

Christian R. Holmes

Dr. Christian R. Holmes. This photo serves as a link to the Winkler Center blog, “Dr. Christian R. Holmes, The Cincinnati General Hospital, and the Surgical Amphitheater.”

The history of the “Holmes Hospital” is typically remembered as beginning in the early 1900’s with the construction of the building then and presently located adjacent to Eden Avenue; however, long before that land was developed for such purpose, there existed an original “Dr. C. R. Holmes Hospital” once located on East Eighth Street. This private establishment was made possible through Dr. Holmes collaboration with his associate at the time, Dr. D. T. Vail. Dr. Though Holmes’ wife, Bettie, was perhaps just as indispensable as Holmes himself – she was the supervisor of Holmes’ hospital for more than five years. Opening probably sometime in the very-late 1800’s, for several years it was home to a Nurses’ Training School. Though renovated in 1917, it closed that same year when Holmes took up duties at Camp Sherman. It was never re-opened.

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Major Christian R. Holmes’ Involvement at Camp Sherman

By Nathan Hood

Dr. Christian R Holmes

Major Christian R. Holmes (1917). This photograph serves as a link to the finding aid for the Winkler Center’s
Christian R. Holmes Collection.

On June 8, 1917 – practically two months after the United States’ declaration of war on April 7, 1917 – Chillicothe, Ohio, was selected as the one of sixteen sites for the construction of military training camps. Workers began building Camp Sherman there in late June on a large expanse of farmland in the Scioto Valley. This land was purchased by the United States government with the help of local business owners. The size and scope of Camp Sherman expanded exponentially and the massive convergence of laborers and soldiers at Camp Sherman brought economic prosperity to the surrounding community, arguably transforming the Ross County area. Chillicothe’s population grew from a 16,000 to over 55,000 – numerous new homes and businesses were built and established.

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