Kansas City, MO

Wheatley-Provident Hospital was the first facility in Kansas City to provide care for the African American community

CJ Coombs

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Wheatley-Provident Hospital southeast side and front door.Smuckola, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1902, the Wheatley-Provident Hospital was founded at 1826 Forest Avenue that's in the 18th & Vine District of Kansas City, Missouri. It's a historic site and is significant because it was the first hospital in the city for African-Americans.

Before this, there was a training facility for nurses and a small hospital that was founded by Dr. John Edward Perry in 1902. It was called Perry Sanitarium and Nurse Training Association which was located at 1214 Vine.

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Dr. J. Edward PerryPublic domain, picryl.com

By June 1918, $25,000 was raised to relocate this facility to the Forest Avenue location. That would be around $490,523 in today's dollars. The new location was constructed in 1903 and operated as the St. Joseph's Parochial School. It was renamed and repurposed as the Wheatley-Provident Hospital. That mission was led by Dr. Perry and his wife. Interestingly, his wife, Fredericka Douglass Sprague Perry, was the daughter of Rosetta Douglass and the granddaughter of Frederick Douglass.

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Wheatley-Provident Hospital fundraiser photo, published in the Kansas City Sun, 1917.Unknown photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1925, the hospital added a children's wing. All in all, 50,000 patients were cared for. In 1972 the hospital closed. In 2007, it became listed with the Kansas City Register of Historic Places and in October 2020, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the 1990s, the building was used as a haunted house.

It was doomed to be demolished. In 2021, some rehabilitation of the building began and it was saved by the owner, 1826 Forest Re Holdings LLC, a local development group. Revitalization of this historic structure would keep the building's heritage.

This building is a piece of history

This hospital is the only one in the city that survives and treated patients in the African-American community from 1902 to 1972.

Located at 1826 Forest, it is one of the first hospitals in the nation entirely staffed by African-American doctors, nurses, and administrators. (Source.)

Click here to read more about the 1826 Forest historical site's redevelopment.

In 2021, KSHB reported in its piece, Woman born at Wheatley-Provident Hospital recalls its impact on Black community, about an 83-year-old woman at the time of the reporting who was born at this hospital. The article also shared how the building was saved from demolition.

The structure is over 100 years old and because of its significance, it's worthy of saving.

Thank you for reading. Keeping history alive.

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms. Thinker, giver, and lover of life and retired early to be a writer. Born into Air Force service life, life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO
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