Long Branch Healthcare History
Monmouth Medical Center and the Hazard Hospital
Professional healthcare in Long Branch got its start in four rented rooms above a Broadway storefront, Arnold’s Deli, in 1887. By October 1890 hospital work had moved into an old hotel on Second Avenue (the Central Hotel built in the 1870s) which was acquired for $25,000. It had been built by Richard J. Dobbins, a wealthy builder from Philadelphia.
When officially chartered in January 1889, the entity was called the Long Branch Hospital (with only six beds). Later that year it became Monmouth Hospital and then in March 1889 it became Monmouth Memorial Hospital. Finally in August 1958, it became Monmouth Medical Center. At that time the hospital had 350 beds and George J. Bartel was the administrator. The first regular hospital staff was appointed in June 1889 and Dr. James J. Reed made the first medical staff report then.
The first president of the hospital Board of Governors was Dr. Sylvester H. Hunt. Other hospital charter members were: Thomas G. Chattle, Henry S. White, Rufus Blodgett, Thomas R. Woolley, George W. Brown, Thomas W. Cooper, Joseph W. Emanuel, Tylee C. Morford, Horace B. Bannard, Matthew H. Houghton, and Thomas Mauer. The School of Nursing opened in 1896; L.A. Mills was the first Director.
Edwin Field, MD, served as the hospital’s first chief of staff — for over 30 years. Known for his “lovable personality” and “great skill as a surgeon” (a rare mix) he had practiced in Red Bank since 1876. A Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons graduate, he died in October 1922.
The city’s healthcare complex has grown considerably over the past 130 years: The Tacie Harper wing was opened in 1899 and the Jacques Wimpfheimer memorial wing in 1919. In 1953, the old hotel building was wrecked to make way for the modern health facility and its many wings and additions. The Mary Owen Borden pavilion was opened in 1940, the Community wing in 1950, the Betty Block Roberts pavilion in 1959, the Anna Greenwall wing in 1964, the Henry Pollak Clinic in 1965, the Alexander pavilion 1969, the Robert C. Stanley wing in 1979 and the E. Murray Todd building in 1987.
Today, the 1-million-square-foot teaching hospital with about 1,700 employees is part of the RWJ Barnabus Health network — NJ’s largest healthcare system. Here are some pictures of the hospital through the years:
Dr. E.C. Hazard Memorial Hospital
This charity hospital at Washington and Dewey Streets — known as the “hospital with a heart” — was opened by Elmer Clarke Hazard, MD, in December 1920 (beginning with 10 beds in an old two-story frame barn). By 1931 the hospital was incorporated.
At its peak just around World War II, the city healthcare facility had about 100 beds. Operating as a general hospital/ER with a nursing school, it specialized in pediatrics and obstetrics. A $250,000 expansion wing was opened in September 1956; former heavyweight boxing champs Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano were both on hand for the dedication, according to a Long Branch Daily Record report.
The eldest son of a tomato ketchup factory owner and fancy groceries magnate, Dr. Hazard was born in NYC in December 1879. He graduated the University of Maryland Medical School in 1904. “Life is far more valuable then money,” was the good doctor’s healing philosophy.
Much-admired around the city, Dr. Hazard “created a place where the poor, the suffering, and the needy could go for help without having to worry about the financial burden involved,” according to a June 1958 Long Branch Daily Record editorial. At one time the hospital led the nation in the percentage of charity patients treated.
Dr. Hazzard died in November 1954 after a long illness. His brother, Bowdoin Hazard, was the hospital’s administrator for over decade. He died in Feb. 1957 after his car was hit a by a train at the Joline Avenue crossing.
In Feb. 1959, the Home for the Chronic Sick of Irvington, NJ acquired the facility for $300,000; Joseph Fox, PhD was the executive director. The facility was hit by a fire in May 1968 and Dr. Hazard’s original house was torn down in 1969. The facility ceased operations in 1974.