Abbeville Area Medical Center (AAMC), located in rural Abbeville County, South Carolina, is celebrating 100 years of caring for its community. The hospital’s long, rich history began in April of 1919 when a group of local men purchased the Ferguson-Williams College located on Ellis Avenue with the intentions of offering the property to the County for use as a hospital.
The charter for the first Abbeville County Memorial Hospital, named in memory of the soldiers from Abbeville County who served in World War I, was officially received on May 12, 1919. Renovation of the building began in June of 1919 and the very first Abbeville County Memorial Hospital opened its doors on July 1, 1920. The original facility is still standing and is currently the Ferguson-Williams Apartments.
As the hospital grew and its services expanded, there was a need for a larger facility. Funded by a County bond referendum and the Hill-Burton Act, construction of the second Abbeville County Memorial Hospital began on June 20, 1964. Located on West Greenwood Street, the hospital opened on July 17, 1966. This building is currently used at the Abbevillle County Administrative Complex.
Once again in the early 2000’s the need for a new hospital was recognized. Healthcare had changed and in order to keep pace with the move to more outpatient services, the hospital had to change as well. Following a failed bond referendum in 2002, the hospital’s Board of Trustees approached County Council with plans for a facility to be paid for with revenue bonds that the hospital would pay back using its own funding. The 3rd reading passed in April of 2004 and ground was broken on May 14, 2005. The new facility accepted its first patients on August 1, 2006.
Since opening, the hospital has continued to grow by adding new services and physician partners as well as expanding its home health division, Health Related Home Care, becoming its own small hospital system.
“Hospitals, both big and small, face many challenges in today’s healthcare environment. With so many small hospitals closing across the Country and in South Carolina that are critical to the health of the rural communities they serve, I am very proud that Abbeville Area Medical Center has been able to stand the test of time,” stated Howard “Dean” Turner, CEO. “We would like to think that the men whose vision it was to establish a hospital in our community in 1919 would be proud of the advances we have made over the last century to keep their dream alive.”
To celebrate 100 years of caring for the community, the hospital will host two events on Saturday, May 18th. The 1st Annual Care Fair presented by the AAMC Foundation will be held from 8:00am – 12:00noon at the Abbeville Area Healthcare Center. Activities include free blood pressure and blood sugar checks, special pricing on screening blood work, health talks and information, free face painting, a drug take back and a distracted driving demonstration. Participants will also be entered to win special giveaways from local merchants.
Following the Care Fair, AAMC will officially commemorate its 100th birthday at 12:30pm. Located at the hospital, facility tours and cake and ice cream will follow the ceremony.