Long before there was a buzzing, 178,000 square-foot acute care center serving hundreds of patients a day, there was a two-and-a-half acre property in 19th century West Philadelphia owned by reverend Ephraim D. Saunders. As the Civil War crept north, Saunders’ son, Courtland, expressed his wish that if he died in battle, their quiet plot of land should be given to a local charity. Mere days later, Courtland was killed at Antietam, and Saunders made good on his promise by donating the land to the Philadelphia Presbyterian Alliance. In 1872, the newly constructed, 45-bed “Presbyterian Hospital of Philadelphia” admitted its first patient, fulfilling Saunders’ requirement that the land “provide for the needs of the sick and disabled, regardless of race, color, or creed.”

To learn more about PPMC’s history, check out the featured piece in this month’s System News.

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