The History of Owensboro Health

Our history shaped us into the healthcare organization that we are today. The people, their efforts, and the hard-earned dollars given so generously in our past have enabled us to provide our trademark world-class care, close to home, today.

OMHS 1976-2006 Aerial photos

new hospital 2013

New Campus - Opened June 1, 2013

We’re proud of where we came from and are excited about our new home for quality care located at 1201 Pleasant Valley Road in Owensboro, Kentucky.

Learn more about Owensboro Health Regional Hospital.

Follow Us Through The Years


1863: Owensboro City Hospital plans begin…

A community group known as the German American School Association made the first plans for a hospital in Owensboro. Owensboro Mayor W.P. Small suggested that the Association work together with the city officials to establish a city hospital.


1898: Owensboro City Hospital is formed…

The original Owensboro City Hospital consisted of twelve rooms for patients and a small operating room upstairs. It cost $5,200 to be constructed.

1899: The first patient is admitted to Owensboro City Hospital …


1900: A year of firsts…

The first nursing school opened and the first surgery recorded. The December 1900 Annual Report listed 48 admissions for this year. The total cost of operating the hospital was $3,514.

1908: Additions to the hospital…

A $16,000 addition, eventually dubbed the “Annex”, was added to the City Hospital. Two new floors added 25 patient rooms and 25 beds to the growing hospital. A larger veranda and balcony supported by tall white pillars served as the new entrance, welcoming patients and their families.


1923: Organizational growth…

By 1923, the hospital had grown to three floors. Graduate nurses served as the hospital administrators, as superintendent, day supervisor, night supervisor and surgery manager. In addition to these women, 24 more were administrators and teachers at the hospital’s Nurses Training School.


1938: A new building: WPA funds Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital…

Due to the growth of the community and need for increased health care services, plans began for a new building. As a result, a new city-county partnership was organized.

The hospital applied for Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression era program established by Franklin D. Roosevelt to help cities fund  new building projects and provide jobs for local citizens. The hospital was reorganized by forming a city-county partnership in order to receive WPA assistance. The name changed to Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital and the board restructured to include city and county officials. The city, county and hospital created a Board of Managers to oversee operations. The members were selected by the city and county.

1939: Construction begins…

Work began on a seven-story addition. Two years and five months later, the $350,000 hospital project was done. Hospital capacity increased to 125 beds.


1941: Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital opens…

The new seven-story hospital opened with Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital (ODCH) operating as a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation.

1948: Mercy Hospital opens…

An intensive drive to raise  funds for this new hospital began in 1944 under the direction of Reverend Francis R. Cotton, D.D., and Bishop of Owensboro, who believed the community needed a Catholic hospital as well. Church Pastors acted as chairmen for their respective parishes.


1949-1963: Expansions at Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital…

Expansions at Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital were necessary due to post-war growth. Renovations increased bed capacity to 450 beds. Additions included east and south wings, the gift shop and the sixth floor. This phase of construction and renovation also saw the old Owensboro City Hospital building torn down.

1969: Nursing school closes…

After 69 years of service and 676 graduates, the nursing school closed. Dorms were converted into patient rooms.


1970: New facility opens…

In 1970, the new facility opened. Renovations were made to the north wing and a west wing was constructed. The hospital became a regional facility, serving Daviess, Ohio, McLean, Muhlenberg, Breckenridge and Hancock counties in Kentucky.

1977: Volunteer Auxiliary begins formal operations …


1991: City, County and Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital create alliance…

The City, County and Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital entered into an Interlocal Cooperation Agreement (approved by the Kentucky Attorney General).

1991-1994: More hospital improvements….

Hospital improvements included the development of the new patient tower, a Cancer Center, the Heart Center, the Transitional Care Center, improved family waiting areas, centralized registration and connection of the Parrish Center Medical Plaza to the hospital’s main structure.

1995: Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital and Mercy Hospital merge…

This merger (approved by the Kentucky Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice) created a not-for-profit corporation with a 20-member board – ten from ODCH, Inc. and ten appointed by Catholic Health Partners, a private not-for-profit Catholic corporation.

1998: The Healthpark opens

The Owensboro Health Healthpark, a 100,000 square foot medical-based fitness center was opened on the site of the former Mercy Hospital. The facility includes outpatient diagnostic services, physical therapy, a fitness center with a pool, gym, exercise equipment and classroom areas, along with a three-story medical office building.


2003: Name change: Owensboro Health is born...

Owensboro Mercy officially changed its name to Owensboro Medical Health System in October of 2003. The OMHS acronym remained the same throughout the change, and the hospital’s name was changed slightly, reflecting the minor change in the hospital organization.

2004: Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center opens…

In 2004, the Owensboro Health Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center, offering world-class cancer care for patients and families, opened on the Parrish Avenue campus.

2006: Needs assessment study begins…

The Owensboro Health Board of Directors launched a needs assessment study to gauge the region’s future medical and facility.. The decision was made to proceed with plans to build the future home for health care in our region.

2010: The new hospital groundbreaking....

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Owensboro Health Regional Hospital was held on June 5, 2010.

2013: The hospital changes its name....

The board of directors votes on a new name for the growing health care system, Owensboro Health. The name of the hospital changes from OMHS to Owensboro Health Regional Hospital.


June 1, 2013: The new hospital opens...

After three years of construction, the new Owensboro Health Regional Hospital opens.

On June 1, 2013, hospital crews moved 120 patients from the former location on Parrish Avenue to the sparkling, nine-story facility on Pleasant Valley Road. 

The move to the new hospital is another innovative move for our organization, one that will have a positive impact on the health of our region for generations to come. Learn more about the hospital.

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