The Osteopathic Hospital Association of Wilmington was incorporated September 19, 1946. The incorporators were Robert E. Curtin, F.M. Finney and E.M. Waller, all of Wilmington. Among the leaders was Dr. Merritt Davis, Sr., who operated a 12 bed clinic.
In November of that year, the name was changed to The Osteopathic Hospital Association of Delaware. The officers were Leonard C. Lipscomb, DO, President, and Henry George, M.D., Secretary. Additional trustees were John C. Bradford, DO, who was to become vice- president; George Frank Nason, DO, who was elected secretary following Dr. George, Raymond H. Rickards, DO, treasurer, and John W. Allen, DO.
A meeting was held on April 3, 1949 for the purpose of establishing the feasibility of purchasing “Clifton”, the manor house of the Seller’s estate and an accompanying three and ½ acres of land for a new Osteopathic hospital. Frequent meetings of the trustees and later an expanded board, continued for months as they wrestled with problems such as the costs involved in converting the existing buildings to a hospital, could the current tenants of the property and the watchman be allowed to continue to live there (yes), raising funds to convert and equip the hospital and what to name the hospital. The decision was to name the hospital the Mt Pleasant Osteopathic Hospital.
Faced with the great difficulties in starting a hospital de novo, the trustees, in August of 1950, considered the feasibility of purchasing the Gross Hospital at 817 West Street, from Dr. Gross and using that facility until enough funds, an estimated $400,000, could be raised to convert the “Clifton Hospital”. Finally in September of 1950, it was agreed to lease Clifton Manor for $200 with the feeling that the physicians “should seek out men of influence in the community and attempt to enlist their help”.
On July 12, 1951, a dinner was held at the Hotel DuPont to launch the hospital effort. The program was opened by singing one verse of America to be accompanied by Dr George’s wife on piano. The program would review the need for the hospital as well as input by representatives of Governor Carvel, Mayor Hearn, and Congressman J. Caleb Boggs among others. Fund raising began a month later as most of the doctors pledged token, but non-binding $1000 to the cause.
As the work began, consideration was made to change the name of the hospital to either Edge Moor General Hospital, Riverside General Hospital or Clifton General Hospital. The Riverside name was chosen in a landslide and earnest fund raising began with trustees assigned to prominent people and companies in the community.
In May, 1952, work was authorized to go ahead with renovation of the ground and first floor of the mansion to become a hospital with the idea of renovation of the upper floors in the future as need arose.
At the October 4, 1952 meeting of the Board of Trustees, they reviewed and agreed to go ahead with a $250 deposit to the phone company to install the needed equipment with a monthly charge of $85. Additionally Dr. Bradford, chairman of the building committee advised a push button elevator would cost $7500, pushing alterations to $40,500; it was agreed to repay Dr. Bradford $61.50 for a building permit for which he had laid out his own funds. Dr. Bradford reported that the sale of paneling from the building netted $100. Dr. Davis expressed a desire to purchase a certain mantle from the building, but the board decided to donate it to him.
The following section chiefs were elected:
• Dr. Nason as chief of the medical staff
• Dr. Davis as chief of obstetrics
• Dr. Young as chief of surgery
• Dr. Bradford as chief of otorhinolaryngology
• Dr. Lipscomb as chief of ophthalmology
• Dr. Nason as chief of X-ray; Dr. George as assistant chief of X-ray
• Dr. Rickards as chief of internal medicine
• Dr. Golden as chief of anesthesiology
On November 2, 1952 with work under way, the trustees agreed to go ahead with making alterations to the 2nd floor for a surgical suite and more beds at a cost of $9000. A painting (2 coats) of the outside woodwork, tin roof and gutters was authorized for $985. A night watchman to be employed from 5 until 12 PM each night during construction would be paid $1 per hour.
The first patients were admitted in February 1954. By 1961, the facility with 28 beds was stretched to its limits so that an extension was build to accommodate an additional 20 patients. In 1957 another surgical room was added along with expanded x-ray facilities, a waiting room and two additional beds in the emergency room.
With the hospital needing to meet updated demands, a new facility with 129 beds was dedicated on October 17, 1970 at a new location at Lea Boulevard and Franklin streets. It was anticipated to accommodate 200 when construction was completed in 1972. The new hospital would be staffed by the 35 osteopathic physicians who practiced in the Wilmington area.