515 Main Street, Olean, New York 14760
(716) 373-2600

Olean General Hospital


Olean General Hospital HistoryOur History

For 120 years, Olean General Hospital has been providing the highest in quality care to the residents of Olean and the surrounding communities of New York’s Southern Tier. With a focus on compassionate and state of the art medical care, Olean General has grown through the efforts of patrons who recognized and continue to recognize this commitment with both generosity and service.

1898 - 1920

The New York Board of Charities incorporated Olean General Hospital on July 13, 1898. Through fundraising efforts initiated by a group of local women, the St. Margaret’s Chapter of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, a building and property for the hospital were purchased in 1902 for $6,000. Through a gift of $65,000 from Mrs. Clara A. H. Smith in memory of her brother, Governor Frank W. Higgins in 1912, the first building at the current hospital site was made possible.

1920 – 1960

The citizens of Olean contributed to the construction of a maternity building in 1921. In 1948 they raised over $425,000 to connect patient wards to the hospital proper and to repair the existing maternity building. In 1952, the Robert J. Dermitt Memorial Pediatric Ward was built with funds given by Jeannette and Margaret Dermitt in memory of their brother.

1960 – 1980

Through the 60s and late 70s, Olean General built a strong reputation as a modern and progressive hospital through significant capital improvement and building projects. An entirely new $3 million facility was built in 1964. Nine years later, a $2.8 million addition was built for a coronary care unit and expanded ancillary services. In 1978, the Dermitt Memorial Pediatric Unit was expanded and renovated.

1980 – 2000

The 80s marked continued modernization at Olean General. In 1984, a new diagnostic imaging suite and a CT scanner were added to the existing radiology department. This was supported, in part, by funds from Heath Care 84, a joint fundraising effort with St. Francis Hospital that resulted in more than $1million dollars in contributions.

The hospital continued to receive support in the 90s for expansion and improvements in both facilities and services. In 1992, the construction of a new maternity unit and intensive care unit were made possible by a $15 million bequest in memory of Mabel Norton Adams. The intensive care unit was also funded by the Butchello Memorial Golf Tournament and Olean General Hospital Auxiliary.

A significant step forward in better meeting the growing needs of Olean and its surrounding communities took place in July 1991 with the merger of Olean General and St. Francis Hospital.

On October 26, 2010, a special dedication ceremony in the newly renovated St. Francis Heritage Garden located on the hospital’s campus was held to recognize the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany for their past sponsorship of St. Francis Hospital and their many contributions over the years to the region’s healthcare. 

St. Francis Heritage Garden

The statue pictured above stood in front of St. Francis Hospital at 2221 West State Street in Olean for most of the hospital’s history. 

In 1996, Olean General opened the Marie Lorenz Dialysis and Primary Care Center to meet a long-standing need to treat local residents faced with kidney failure. To serve the Primary Care Center, the hospital entered into a partnership with the University of Buffalo School of Medicine for a family practice residency program. The 90s also saw increased growth in services with the expansion of physical therapy services at the new outpatient rehabilitation center and the opening of an occupational wellness center to address the healthcare needs of local businesses and industries. In 1998 and 1999, the hospital added a diabetes center, a sleep disorders center and the retina center for eye care.

2000 – Present

In 2001, the hospital completed an ambitious three-year expansion and renovation project called Vision 2000. Competed in September 2001, this $30 million project included construction of a new 100,000 square foot east wing and renovations to the hospital’s older west wing. It also included an expanded clinical laboratory, tripling of the emergency department’s size, a new surgery center, a new radiology department, cardiopulmonary suite, behavioral health unit with a partial hospitalization program, expanded outpatient services and enhanced inpatient comfort and privacy.

Other aspects of the project included new patient registration and switchboard areas, a community education center, new administrative and records facilities as well as relocated patient rooms and other services. In April 2007, the hospital received a $10 million gift to fund the acquisition of advanced state of the art diagnostic imaging equipment, including a new 64 slice CT scanner for use in minimally invasive interventional and cardiovascular procedures.

Present and beyond

Today, as a comprehensive 186 bed, acute care and non-profit hospital, we are supported by more than 100 physicians and specialists.

We also serve our community by offering a wide range of patient education and community service programs including prepared childbirth classes, blood pressure screening clinics, home lab service, and the first diabetes education program in western New York to be recognized by the American Diabetes Association for excellence.

Olean General Hospital is privileged to have benefited from a community that continues to recognize the value it provides in a growing but rural setting and is continually grateful for this. As we look to the future, we are committed to delivering the same level of managerial and professional excellence and leadership, community interaction, medical innovation and compassion in a manner that provides both access and value to all we serve. The growth we have experienced, the value we have delivered and the people we have helped are testament to those who, through their generosity and foresight, have made us who we are.

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