A New Hospital

In the mid-1920’s, Passavant Memorial Hospital was invited to become affiliated with Northwestern University and announced plans to build a new hospital on the medical center campus in Streeterville. The Woman’s Aid Society’s Executive Committee favored the affiliation plans and continued their important work on behalf of Passavant Hospital.

In 1926, Woman’s Aid Society President, Mrs. Joseph Coleman, headed the hospital’s campaign to raise $1.5 million in just 10 days towards the new hospital facility. The successful fundraising campaign was the Board’s first effort to support the new hospital building, which opened in June, 1929, at the corner of Superior and Fairbanks.

The state-of-the-art hospital, designed by Hollabird and Roche, and built on land donated by Northwestern University in exchange for the capacity to train future physicians, continued to be open to “all patients, regardless of color, creed or financial limitations.” The Chicago Tribune described the building site as “as a deluxe location…a block from Lake Michigan where patients will be free from the soot and smoke of the city and away from the din of surface and elevated cars.” In addition to raising the $1.5 million, members of the Woman’s Aid Society were responsible for the hospital’s beautiful interior design and décor which was described as “a setting which robs bodily maladies of their terrors.” Some of the money raised was used to decorate the entrance walls of the new Passavant in butternut wood paneling — long a dream of the Woman’s Aid Society. Over the years, due in large part to the Board’s efforts, the hospital became known for its patient amenities and personalized service.

The Aid Society’s commitment to the Free Bed Fund continued with many other diverse fundraising efforts including a series of Ice Carnivals at the new Chicago Arena, opening night galas such as the Ballet Russes and a concert of Toscanini, theatre nights, and and a Circus benefit.