Remember St. Clare's

1940s - The Beginning

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

The People’s Hospital

From its earliest inception, the notion of a new hospital in Schenectady captured the imagination of virtually the entire city. According to newspaper accounts, more than 800 men and women took part in the kick-off rally, Aug. 20, 1945, at the State Armory on Washington Avenue.

There were dozens of divisions whose leaders and workers fanned out over the city and county to solicit $1.2 million in contributions to build the proposed new hospital. Just about everyone was asked and very few refused to support the project. The Women’s Division, alone, had a list of nearly 40,000 prospects and a goal of $100,000. There are still many local area residents who recall "the privilege" of going door-to-door on behalf of St. Clare’s.

There were teams for every building at the General Electric Company, the American Locomotive Company and countless other businesses of every size and description. Civic and fraternal groups including the Hibernians, Masons, Knights of Columbus, Polish Welfare Council, Moose, Elks, Knights of St. John, Italian War Veterans - and many, many more - came forth with enormous sums of money.

Pledges of financial support rolled in from every sector of the local work force. Among them, the Schenectady Teachers Association, United Steelworkers, the Electrical Workers, Schenectady’s police and fire departments, public and county employees, the Schenectady County Tavern Association, physicians, dentists and the area’s clergy - of every denomination - and their respective parishes and congregations.

Amid great public jubilation, the groundbreaking ceremony took place Oct. 26, 1946. Construction was progressing on schedule despite growing concerns about escalating costs. By April, 1948, the effects of the post-war construction boom and shortages of materials nearly brought the project to a standstill.

Word began to spread like wildfire throughout Schenectady, "Let’s Finish the Job!" A second campaign began almost immediately. On June 19, 1948, it was reported that another $1.2 million had been pledged for the St. Clare’s Hospital Building Fund.

(According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average income for a non-farming family in 1946 was $3,000.)

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