HISTORICAL POSTCARDS OF SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI
Burge Hospital, 1423 North Jefferson Avenue, started as Burge Mo. Deaconess Hospital in 1907. The Burge School of Nursing started that same year. The hospital's name came from benefactor Ellen A. Burge, who donated a house and adjacent land on which to build the hospital. Burge Hospital started small with 30 beds. In 1931 the Howard Nixon wing was added. In 1949 the hospital experienced severe financial difficulties which were resolved when Lester E. Cox became the administrator. He raised $150,000, which was matched by $150,000 donated by physicians of the hospital.
In 1949 a polio isolation unit was set up in a white frame house at 1415 North Jefferson Avenue. It housed 15 patients in each of its two floors and was called Polio Cottage.
In 1952 a brand new Burge Hospital was built and dedicated. In 1955 the Crippled Children's Wing and new nurse's dormitory were completed. By 1956 the Salk vaccine had decreased the need for polio isolation wards and the remaining patients were moved into the hospital. In 1962 the Polio Cottage was torn down so the hospital could expand. In 1960 the new Robberson Wing was built along with a new hospital chapel. The photograph in the postcard must have been taken circa 1960, before the hospital was renamed Burge-Protestant Hospital in 1962, perhaps after the Robberson Wing was added. In 1965 a huge expansion program was completed, giving the hospital 534 beds. In 1968 the hospital was renamed the Lester E. Cox Medical Center to honor Cox's contributions to the hospital. In 1981 when Cox Medical Center South was built, the original hospital was renamed the Cox Medical Center North.