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Eleanor Taylor Bell Memorial Hospital
Eleanor Taylor Bell Memorial Hospital
TitleEleanor Taylor Bell Memorial Hospital
DescriptionPostcard of Eleanor Taylor Bell Memorial Hospital
Historical ArticleEleanor Taylor Bell's Memorial hospital, located at 311 Seminary Street, Rosedale, Kansas (now Kansas City, Kansas) was the first building of what now is the University of Kansas Medical Center. Seminary Street is just off Southwest Boulevard.

Dr. Simeon Bell, founder of the hospital, received his medical degree in 1853 at Starling Medical College in Columbus, Ohio. He practiced medicine in Ohio five years and then headed west with his wife, Eleanor, and their children.

His ambitions were to help make Kansas a free state, practice medicine and farm. He faced hardship and danger, however, since his farm in Johnson County was a hot spot in guerrilla warfare of the Civil War era. He was the victim of Quantrill's raids more than once and is believed to have given medical assistance during the Lawrence raid.

After being burned out at Aubrey in 1865 he and his family left Kansas for a time, but returned to settle in Rosedale, where he purchased a quarter section of land in Turkey Creek Valley, just over the state line. Dr. Bell accumulated 1,000 acres of rich land in Johnson County. Old deeds show much of his property was purchased directly from the Shawnee Indians.

Dr. Bell's wife, Eleanor Taylor Bell, died Jan. 13, 1866, seven weeks after the birth of their 10th child. He then married Margaret Fleury from Belfast, Ireland, who helped rear the large family.

Dr. Bell engaged in farming until 1880, when the first subdivision of his land was platted, along the route of the present Southwest Boulevard, which he built diagonally through his property, and which raised the value of his land. He was known as an advocate of good roads.

In 1894 Dr. Bell endowed the hospital in tribute to his first wife. His gift to the state of Kansas was $100,000, a large sum in those days, and 20 acres of land on Seminary Street. The 3-story red brick hospital with 24 beds was built by the state and occupied in 1906.

The interval of time between gift and occupancy was caused by a controversy over establishing a 4 year school of medicine in Kansas as well as its location in Rosedale. Topeka doctors and those in western Kansas opposed the school's location so far east. Several times Dr. Bell drove with horse and buggy to Topeka to confer with the legislators on the subject.

In 1924 the first building on the present campus was completed on a larger and more accessible site, at 39th and Rainbow, but the hospital retained its original name. Later the name was changed to University of Kansas Hospital. The name University of Kansas Medical Center was adopted in 1947.

The old hospital on Seminary continued in use as a laboratory. It was razed in 1972.

Kansas City Times
November 23, 1974

AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
Local SubjectHospitals
Eleanor Taylor Bell Memorial Hospital
Digital FormatJPEG
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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