A Trip Down Memory Lane: 1923-1949

The early formative years of the hospital’s history.

MCH Anniversary Series 1950-1970

On June 21, 1923 the front page of the Peterborough Transcript proudly proclaimed:

“The Peterborough Hospital, which opens its doors to the public today, Thursday, June 21st, is something which has been in the minds and thoughts of some of our citizens for a long time and at last the realizations of these plans and dreams have come to pass…”

The highly anticipated opening day of The Peterborough Hospital was a monumental occasion. Over 750 people attended the festivities on opening day to see the new facility that would become a center for medical excellence in the Monadnock region. A visiting physician toured the newly built hospital and told the Peterborough Transcript:

“A finer location, better arranged, more completely equipped, up to the minute, modern hospital than this one cannot be found anywhere.”

At this time there were 47 consulting physicians that came to the Hospital from all over New England, as far away as Boston. They would take the train into town. The most common vehicle at the time was the Model T.

In the first month (1923)

  • 4 births
  • 9 average patients a day
  • 36 operations
  • 40 patients admitted
  • 274 patient days

Within the first 11 months of operation, it was clear that the Peterborough Hospital was a needed service for the community, with patient numbers increasing daily. During this time there were an average of nine patients per day at the hospital. (Patients days are defined as a calendar day a patient is admitted in the hospital.) The first baby born was a healthy boy from Nashua, he was born at 3 AM on July 1, 1923 by Caesarean section. In the first 15 years of operation (ending in 1938) there were 7,525 persons admitted, and 80,559 patient days total.

In 1927 nine towns accepted a share in the future maintenance of the hospital. The breakdown of the amount pledged by each town follows: Peterborough $68,225.35 ($1,147,502.68 adjusted*), Jaffrey $12,751 ($214,462.90 adjusted*), Dublin $12,750 ($214,446.08 adjusted*), Hancock $3,501 ($58,884.3 adjusted*), Antrim $3,295.50 ($55,428.01 adjusted*), Bennington $2,056 ($34,580.48 adjusted*), Temple $1,224.25 ($20,591.03 adjusted*), Greenfield $655 ($11,016.64 adjusted*), and Harrisville $53.25 ($895.63 adjusted*). The community support from these surrounding towns set the framework for what would be incredible philanthropic support for decades to come.

Hospital Stats:


  • 2903 patient days
  • 274 admissions
  • 43 births


  • 1675 patient days
  • 1844 admissions
  • 286 births

In the 1940s it was common practice for hearses to be used as ambulances. Funeral homes handled ambulance calls as well as funeral transportation. The vehicles were bought as combination hearses/ambulances. Arthur Wheeler of Jellison Funeral Home never lost a patient in transit despite only having Red Cross first aid training.

1946 was a time of transformation and growth as the Peterborough Hospital changed its name to Monadnock Community Hospital. There was a continuing need for increased services, with the hospital running full census (full capacity) in 1934. The tight finances during World War II made expansion a challenge. By 1946 the Hospital was often beyond capacity. The community donated food from their victory gardens, and raised money with donations, benefits, bequests, investments, state funds, and more. In 1949 the North Wing addition began, which was going to increase the hospital’s bed capacity from 19 beds to 55. When the North Wing was completed in 1950 Monadnock Community Hospital was considered one of the finest in New England.



net operating loss $12,000

(-$243,879 adjusted*)


profit $691.41

($8,501 adjusted*)


net gain


*adjusted for 2022 dollars

History – Monadnock Community Hospital