One hundred years ago in the early 1900’s the need for close to home hospital care was recognized. Area residents were traveling sometimes as far as Chester, SC or Atlanta to receive the healthcare they needed. After two unsuccessful efforts in 1907 and 1909 to raise at least $10,000.00, the idea of a hospital in the County resurfaced again in April of 1919. A group of community minded leaders purchased the Ferguson-Williams College located on Ellis Avenue with the intentions of offering the property to the County for use as a hospital. When it was announced that the hospital would be named in memory of the soldiers from Abbeville County who served in World War I more than $7,000.00 was raised in a week through the sale of $10.00 stock certificates and various fundraisers. The charter for the first Abbeville County Memorial Hospital was received on May 12, 1919. Renovation of the building began in June of 1919 and the hospital opened its doors on July 1, 1920 with great fanfare. This building still stands today as the Ferguson-Williams Apartments.
The need for a new hospital was once again recognized in the early 1960’s. On May 8, 1962, a County referendum was held for the issuance of bonds, which passed with a vote of 1,165 to 222. Construction of the second Abbeville County Memorial Hospital began on June 20, 1964 on a 15.5-acre tract of land located on Highway 72. Total cost for the second hospital was $1.7 million with the County paying 1/3 and the remaining 2/3 by the Hill-Burton Act. The 52-bed facility opened on July 17, 1966. Following the construction of this facility, services were continually expanded. The first physician office was built next to the hospital in 1972. Construction of others followed. In 1981 an addition to the hospital was built that included an ICU/CCU. Over the next 40 years, the hospital experienced significant growth and saw the need to expand many of its services. The way healthcare was provided had changed, and more importantly, additional space was necessary that was designed specifically to meet the changing medical needs of our community. Today, this building is home to the Abbeville 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, our hospital had to change as well. The plan? To build a new state of the art facility at a cost of $15-$16 million with the help of a $9.8 million bond referendum in addition to $6 million in funding from the hospital. On November 5, 2002 the referendum was lost by a vote of 2,264 to 3,106 – a mere 842 votes. Knowing that the need for a new hospital was critical in order to continue to provide healthcare to our community, the Board of Trustees approached County Council with another option… New plans for a facility to be paid for with $10.5 million in revenue bonds that the hospital would pay back using its own funding. In April of 2004, the dream became a reality when the County Council approved the 3rd bond reading. Ground was broken on May 14, 2005. The new 25-bed hospital accepted its first patients on August 1st and its name was changed to Abbeville Area Medical Center to better reflect its regional outreach and care.
Since 1919, the hospital has continued to grow and meet the needs of the community by adding numerous services and physician partners as well as expanding its home health division, Health Related Home Care, to become its own small hospital system.
Looking forward to the next century, Abbeville Area Medical Center continues to be committed to being a healthcare leader, providing an environment of hope, health and healing to our patients and their families.