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Manchester Memorial Hospital Marks 100 Years of Caring, Spanning the Spanish Flu Era to the COVID-19 Pandemic


Veteran’s Day & Centennial Celebration to be held November 11 at 11 a.m.

NOVEMBER 9, 2020 (Manchester, Conn.) – One hundred years ago, on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1920, Manchester Memorial Hospital opened its doors to fulfill a community vision born during the great influenza epidemic of 1918 for a local hospital to treat those needing care. The hospital was dedicated in memory of the 45 Manchester men who lost their lives in World War I.

Today, Manchester Memorial Hospital, part of Eastern Connecticut Health Network (ECHN), continues to play a critical role in caring for community residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the hospital’s frontline physicians, nurses and other staff have treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients, the vast majority of whom have recovered and been able to return to their loved ones.

To commemorate this remarkable milestone, there will be a small 100th anniversary celebration held on the front lawn of Manchester Memorial Hospital as part of its annual Veteran’s Day parade and speaking program.  Due to COVID-19 restrictions in place, media will not be able to attend this event in person, so that we may accommodate our Veterans. However, we will be videotaping the event and the livestream and posted link can be found here for your use. Manchester Mayor Jay Moran will deliver a proclamation and rededication of Manchester Memorial Hospital on behalf of all Veterans and present this to ECHN’s CEO, Deborah Weymouth. Additionally, there are statements from the speakers at the small ceremony and numerous photos available below for your coverage.

“Today, as we find ourselves in the throes of another pandemic, it remains the hospital’s single mission to once again answer the call of the community,” said Deborah Weymouth, Chief Executive Officer at ECHN.  “It is truly our great pleasure and honor to provide care for the people who call eastern Connecticut home. Heartfelt appreciation to our Veterans who demonstrate their service to others in both word and deed. Manchester Memorial Hospital is built upon the foundation of connection and service to others. It’s who we are and who we’ve always been for 100 years. Here’s to our next 100 years.”

Today, ECHN is a nationally recognized network of hospitals, outpatient healthcare service centers and hundreds of medical providers and specialists in dozens of locations serving eastern Connecticut residents.

“Our Veterans selflessly served our country and I’m honored to participate in Manchester Memorial Hospital’s ceremony to honor them. The hospital opened 100 years ago in dedication to 45 soldiers from Manchester who gave the ultimate sacrifice in World War I.” added Representative John Larson,  “Our nation is forever grateful for our Veterans; we can never thank them enough.”

“As they have demonstrated so many times over the years, Manchester Memorial Hospital’s healthcare professionals display extraordinary strength and integrity illustrated by their honorable civic duty and commitment to their patients,” added Senator Saud Anwar, M.D.  “The hospital reaches out to people of all backgrounds and socio-economic circumstances to provide life-saving care to all those in need.”

Manchester Mayor Jay Moran stated, “Today and every day we thank our Veterans and their families for their sacrifices to defend our freedoms. And this year we congratulate and thank Manchester Memorial Hospital and its staff for 100 years of serving our town and our surrounding communities! We are forever grateful to our Veterans, doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, both paid and volunteers, for their service!” 

To view our historical video and publication which outlines key moments in history over 100 years, please visit www.echn.org/100.

Key Moments Outlined:

  1. A century ago, our community answered the call by financing, building and maintain its very own hospital. In 1918, over one week, $195,000 was raised, equivalent to $3.5 million. Today, that tradition continues through the compassionate care and expertise of our physicians, nurses, administrators and caregivers.
  2. On Armistice Day in 1920, Manchester Memorial Hospital was established and dedicated to the 45 Manchester men who lost their lives in World War I. A plaque bearing their name adorns a hospital wall and 45 trees were planted in their honor.
  3. Today, exceptional physicians stand on the shoulders of some of history’s most important healthcare innovators. In the 1960’s, Manchester Memorial Hospital leaders effectively changed how many of the world’s hospitals wound manage and care for patients. Progressive Patient Care classified and separated patients by the level of care they required-intensive care, routine care and a self-service unit. While commonplace now, it was quite innovative at the time. Our hospital attracted medical professionals from 22 states and 16 countries to learn the techniques and bring this model back to their hospitals.
  4. Manchester Memorial also introduced family-centered childbirth with home-like birthing rooms and was among the earliest proponents of the Lamaze method, opening specially designed Lamaze delivery rooms.
  5. With an ever-growing commitment to Behavioral Health, Manchester Memorial Hospital also operates a fully accredited school for 7th-12th grade adolescents.
  6. Our hospital gained international recognition for taking hospital food to a gourmet level as it became an integral part of patient care and an effective method of lifting spirits with moments such as the infamous Lobster night.

If you would like to speak with ECHN’s CEO, Deborah Weymouth, please feel free to contact Nina Kruse at 860.948.8407 to schedule arrangements.