WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Before New Hanover Regional Medical Center, folks in the Port City went to the James Walker Memorial Hospital.
The hospital served the area for 65 years, from 1902 until the NHRMC opened in 1967. The facility had a nursing school for young women, a women’s unit, and a horse drawn ambulance.
Unfortunately James Walker, who funded the majority of the hospital, died just 10 weeks before it was completed and opened to serve the public.
The hospital was segregated and the Community Hospital was opened by African American physicians in 1921 so everyone in Wilmington could get the care they needed.
When NHRMC opened, the very first patients were several premature babies brought in by ambulance. Their arrival marked an achievement in the civil rights movement in the area, as the babies were accepted to the hospital regardless of the race, sex, or even ability to pay for medical attention.