In 2017, Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie will celebrate 90 years of caring for kids. Indeed, one only has to look at the Erie medical center’s rich past to understand why its staff and patients are looking forward to an exciting future.
Where It Began
“Sunshine Valley Camp” is where the Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie story begins. In the summer of 1924, a cottage was built to treat 12 children to a summer of sunshine, good food and physical therapy. The evolution from a summer cottage for 12 to a state-of-the-art, pediatric orthopaedic health-care facility, complete with surgical services and a residency program, has spanned a period of 90 years. Those years of birth, growth and change began with a suggestion from a young Erie woman, Elizabeth Milne, which was acted on by local Shriners in the same spirit that prevails among them today.
The success of that first summer greatly enthused the Nobility of Zem Zem Temple and at a Ceremonial held October 30, 1924, Noble Isador Sobel introduced a resolution to “build and maintain a convalescent home for crippled children.” After the Temple unanimously adopted the resolution, construction began in October 1925 under the Potentate of Zem Zem Temple, Emil E. Knobloch. A completed “Zem Zem Hospital for Crippled Children” was dedicated on June 26, 1927. The original hospital had 48 beds and treated children from nine counties in northwestern Pennsylvania.
“Those first years saw cases of polio, tuberculosis and hip dislocation,” says Administrator Mary Jane Antoon. “The hospital was especially busy during the early 1950s with as many as 60 polio patients being cared for at one time.”
As the incidence of polio and tuberculosis decreased, the focus of the hospital’s treatment program broadened and shifted to meet the needs of other children in the area. To this end, in 1967, the Zem Zem Hospital joined the national network of Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Read more in the February 2017 Edition of the Business Magazine