Forsyth Medical Center

Our history

Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center is part of one of the largest healthcare systems in North Carolina, but its beginnings were humble.

In the summer of 1887, Rev. Henry O. Lacy, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, could see a growing city – and a growing need for healthcare. The Ladies Twin City Hospital Association, a group of volunteers, took up Rev. Lacy's cause and began making plans.

But they did more than talk. They took action. Before six months had passed, the women used money saved from their household funds to open up a hospital inside the Martin Grogan home on North Liberty Street, where up to 10 patients could be hospitalized for $5 a week.

The women went door-to-door, meeting-to-meeting, raising money from anyone who would give them a contribution. The mayors of both Winston and of Salem were each asked to give $12 a month toward the effort.

Within four years, the Grogan House was badly in need of repair. The women stepped up their fundraising efforts by showing people in the two towns how their money had been used in the past – and by being able to describe in detail how many people had been helped. They raised $5,000 and opened the Twin City Hospital: 12 private rooms, two wards and an operating room.

Later, overcrowded and still without significant funding or equipment, Twin City Hospital moved to Brookstown Avenue. In 1912, Winston voters approved bonds for a modern hospital to be constructed on East Fourth Street. Within two years, the modern Twin City Hospital accepted its first patient.

That's the way things stood, at least structurally, until 1959. That year, voters approved a bond referendum to build a modern hospital on 77 acres along Silas Creek Parkway. Forsyth Memorial Hospital, owned and managed by Forsyth County, opened in 1964.

Progress – and change – have been the constant through the decades. In 1984, the hospital property was deeded from Forsyth County to Carolina Medicorp Inc. (CMI), a non-profit organization. The transfer required that the new organization provide indigent care for citizens of Forsyth County.

The 1980s brought rapid change: during those years, CMI purchased and began operating Medical Park Hospital (now named Novant Health Medical Park Hospital), Forsyth Medical Center Hawthorne Outpatient Surgery Center (now named Novant Health Hawthorne Outpatient Surgery - a department of Forsyth Medical Center), Martinat Outpatient Rehabilitation Center (now named Novant Health Rehabilitation Center), and Behavioral Health Resources. By decade's end, the hospital building itself had grown by adding a West Tower.

The biggest changes, however, lay ahead. In 1997, CMI and Presbyterian Healthcare in Charlotte merged to form Novant Health, a leading provider of medical care in the southeastern United States.