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For its centennial: Frick dedicates time capsule

The year-long celebration of Frick Hospital’s 100th anniversary culminated at 9:30 this morning with the dedication of a time capsule, to be buried in the main lobby of the Mount Pleasant facility.

“The capsule contains some representations of the health care practice today. There will be a stethoscope, some medical instruments, scrubs, a brochure highlighting all the different services currently offered, two essays and a pictorial display spanning the 100-year history,” said Cheryl Kelly, Frick Hospital’s community relations specialist.

One essay selected was penned by Frick staff member Martha Opalinski, R.N. A second was to be chosen from submissions by students from Southmoreland and Mount Pleasant Area school districts, Kelly said. The employee essay theme was, “What Is It Like to be a Health Care Professional in 2003?” The student theme was, “What Does Frick Hospital Mean to Me?”

A number of dignitaries attended the dedication, including Westmoreland County Commissioner Tom Balya and Mount Pleasant Mayor Gerald Lucia. Mount Pleasant Township Supervisor Don Scott read one of many citations honoring Frick’s centennial. Acting Chief Executive Officer David Gallatin was the featured speaker.

In addition to the dedication, a heritage tent was open for two hours today to showcase memorabilia loaned by the community and physicians, as well as items to be placed in the time capsule, Kelly said.

Over the past year, a number of celebratory activities were arranged by members of five centennial committees.

The centennial kicked off last September with a flag-raising and opening ceremonies. In December, a Light-up Night with a Memory Tree was held. In May, a Nurses Recognition Luncheon honored graduates of the school of nursing, which operated from 1904 to 1950. A community garden tour was offered in July. In conjunction with local veterans’ organizations, Frick participated in marking the 175th anniversary of Mount Pleasant Borough earlier this month.

Frick Hospital was chartered on Sept. 20, 1902, as Mount Pleasant Memorial Hospital. The following year, Gov. Samuel Pennypacker authorized a $12,000 grant to purchase the J. Lippencott mansion on Main Street to serve as the dispensary and hospital.

A $76,000 portion of the estate of Jacob Justice sealed the future of the hospital, which opened on Jan. 21, 1904. In 1931, the name of the hospital was changed to Henry Clay Frick Memorial Hospital to honor the West Overton native’s philanthropic efforts that funded construction of a nurse’s residence and improvements to the Lippencott building.

In 1965, Henry Clay Frick Community Hospital opened at its current site at 508 S. Church St. The hospital expanded in 1970 with completion of the South Wing, and again in 1975 with the opening of the North Wing. In 1981, the Short Procedure Unit opened, followed by the outpatient Chemo Clinic in 1984.

The hospital reorganized in 1986 and was renamed Frick Community Health System. The institution’s name became Frick Hospital and Community Health Center in 1992, and it adopted the current name, Frick Hospital, in 1997.

The latest addition to the hospital came in October 1999 with the construction of the $3.4 million Surgical Suite in the North Wing. The hospital executed an affiliation agreement with Westmoreland Health System in January 2001.


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