With advances in health care in the last few decades of the 19th century, demand for hospitals staffed for around-the-clock care by nursing professionals and equipped with clinical laboratories, surgical suites, and other modern appliances took place. Wilmington progressed in this evolving national era of medicine when the Homeopathic Hospital opened on February 10, 1888, at Shallcross Avenue and Van Buren Streets. Before that time, city physicians treated patients in their homes, and If they were gravely ill, they might send them by train or boat to hospitals in Philadelphia.
Delaware clinicians rapidly welcomed the success of this modern, scientific approach to medicine. Hence, more and more started admitting their patients to the hospital to receive professional nursing care when the attending doctor was not available. Thus, with Homeopathic’s success, Wilmington practitioners, city leaders, and philanthropists opened a second, voluntary, nonprofit institution, the Delaware Hospital, in 1890.
Also, Dr. John J Jones opened a proprietary (for-profit) institution for his patients. Known as the “Dr. J. J. Jones Private Hospital,” it stared in 1896 at 1012 Delaware Avenue in Wilmington. For his enterprise, Dr. Jones built a large building next to the New Century Club, which was being equipped with all the latest improvements the Morning News reportred on January 2, 1896.
Dr. Jones was born in South Wales on October 13, 1855, and he came to this country in 1858, settling in Wisconsin. After graduating from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Baltimore in 1897, the young caregiver briefly practiced in Frostburg, MD, before moving to Wilmington in 1893. Here the clinician soon established himself as one of the leading medical providers in northern Delaware, and in 1896 he established his private hospital to attend to cases requiring around-the-clock care.
An advertisement in Polk’s Medical Directory in 1896 advertised Gynecological and Abdominal Surgery procedures at the facility, an entirely new building constructed after the most approved methods of modern sanitary science. It was limited to twelve patients, and each patient had a room to herself with gas and electric lights and electric call bells. Trained nurses were in attendance day and night.
As time went on, the hospital evolved, focusing on general medicine and surgery. By 1912, Dr. Jones’ hospital had 30 beds. According to the American Medical Directory, while he served as the physician in charge, his first assistant was Dr. Elizabeth Allison. The College of America Surgeons and the American Medical Association put it on a list of approved, highly efficient center in 1928
One day in July 1930, Dr. Jones pricked his finger with a needle while operating on a patient, and blood poisoning set in. After struggling for two weeks, he died at his hospital on July 24, 1930. His son, Dr. Lawrence J Jones, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, continued the facility.
The Wilmington hospital gave way to the war effort in Nov. 1943, its contents being sold at an auction. Dr. L. Jones agreed to this as the War Housing Center, wanted to convert the treatment center into 19 apartments. While the hospital was discontinued, Dr. Jones continued seeing patients in his office.