photograph in the postcard shows the Lester E. Cox Medical Center
as it looked in 1968, the year it received the name Cox Medical
Center. It is located at 1423 North Jefferson. The hospital started
in 1907 as Burge-Deaconess
Hospital, a name which was shortened to Burge
Hospital almost immediately.
Lester Cox's association began in 1948 when the 600-bed hospital
in the photograph had only 57 beds and its debts exceeded the value
of the hospital. At a meeting of the hospital's physicians Lester
E. Cox was mentioned as someone who might be interested in helping
Burge Hospital. He agreed and was named chairman of the hospital
board. The very next day painters and carpenters began work on the
hospital at Cox's direction and expense. The Springfield Leader
and Press ran a story by Eddie Bass that had started out telling
about the hospital's demise but ended up being a story about its
Lester E. Cox told the physicians of the hospital that if they
could raise $75,000 for Burge, he would match it. The physicians
raised $150,000, which Cox matched. The hospital had major expansions
in 1952 when an all-new Burge Hospital was dedicated, in 1960 when
a new wing was opened and in 1965 when a huge expansion program
was completed, increasing the size of the hospital to 534 beds.
During his lifetime Cox did not want his name given to the hospital,
so after his death in 1968 the hospital was renamed the Lester E.
Cox Medical Center.
The beautiful 3-tiered fountain in the photograph was donated by
Cox after he and his wife returned from a visit to see famous fountains
in Trivoli, near Rome. He also had beautiful tulip beds planted
around Burge-Protestant after he visited Amsterdam and admired the
In 1981 Cox Medical Center became Cox Medical Centers when Cox
Medical Center South was built on the "medical mile" on South National
Avenue. The original Cox hospital then became Cox Medical Center
North, a name it still retains.