Remember St. Clare's

1940s - The Beginning

1940s | In the Beginning | Dedication | Petition | History Timeline | Photos | News Clips | Headlines

History of the Founding of St. Clare’s Hospital

1917-1918 - Bishop Thomas F. Cusack of Albany’s Catholic Diocese, purchased approximately two acres of land near Central Park in Schenectady, as a site for a "Sisters’ Hospital."

In the years following, Bishop Edmund F. Gibbons, successor to Bishop Cusack, received hundreds of letters requesting that work get underway on the proposed hospital.

1937 - The long-standing idea for a Sisters’ Hospital received renewed consideration. Representatives of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor were invited to Schenectady to inspect the site which was found to be too small. The Order of Sisters agreed to manage the proposed new hospital when erected.

1942 - A petition drafted by Frank Dickershaid, a roofing and sheet metal worker, calling for the erection of the proposed hospital was circulated, beginning with employees of the General Electric Company. The petition was returned bearing some 25,000 signatures.

Sixteen acres of additional land adjoining the original site was purchased from the Furman Estate in December. The site now covered approximately 18 acres.

1944 - Bishop Gibbons called 33 priests from the region together to consider the proposed hospital. An executive committee of nine clergymen headed by The Very Reverend John J. Finn was created to implement the project.

1945 - A decision was made to build a 200 bed hospital and to make a public appeal for a subscription of $1,200,000 to the Hospital Building Fund.

First campaign for building funds was launched with a goal of $1,200,000. At a final campaign report meeting held on Friday, August 31, a subscription total of $1,337,138 was reported. A total of $1,481,902 was eventually realized as a result of the campaign.

1946 - Rising construction costs following World War II resulted in the doubling
of original costs estimates for the new hospital. Federal Government authorities delayed authorization for construction "due to a shortage of materials." Authority was finally granted in August. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on October 27.

1947 - Two properties adjacent to the site on McClellan Street were purchased to provide housing for nurses.

Insufficient funds were available to meet rising costs of construction. Various actions were considered ranging from abandoning further construction to "shelling-in" the building of the hospital to completing the hospital as proposed. A decision was made to hold a second campaign for funds needed to complete the hospital as planned.

1948 - A second campaign was launched with a goal of $1,500,000. Subscriptions totaling $1,404,330 were announced at the final campaign report meeting held on Friday, July 18.

1949 - St. Clare’s Hospital was dedicated on August 12; Reverend William C. Keane, pastor of St. Luke’s Church and a key figure in the founding of the hospital, presided at ceremonies. The hospital opened September 1. Cost of the hospital totaled $3,297,886.

1940s | In the Beginning | Dedication | Petition | History Timeline | Photos | News Clips | Headlines