This Abandoned Brownsville General Hospital near Pittsburgh also has its own story to tell. Hundreds upon hundreds of patients resided through this large Brownsville General Hospital over the years, fighting illness and disease, broken bones, and more.
Brownsville General Hospital is a long-abandoned hospital in Brownsville, Pennsylvania. After its closure in 1965, the buildings were reused for the Brownsville Golden Age Nursing Home until 1985.
The History of Brownsville General Hospital
Construction on the Brownsville General Hospital began in 1908, in an attempt to fill a desperate need in the Brownsville community. The hospital was constructed between 1908 and 1916 and closed in 1965. It later served as a personal care home until being abandoned in 1984.
The facility began admitting patients in July 1914 despite the building still being under construction, and work did not wrap up until 1916. An additional fundraising campaign raised $120,000 for a surgical ward that was then built. A nurses home was added in 1920, but it was not long until it became overcrowded.
Brownsville General Hospital began a growth spurt. It added a surgical unit and a nurse’s home. An additional third floor to house 13 patients in four private rooms and one semi-private room in April 1942. It also included a new operating room.
The need for a new hospital by the 1950s had become clear as the facility boasted the highest occupancy rate of any hospital in the state. By May 1960, the 100-bed hospital was at 99.5% capacity which was an increase from the prior year’s rate of 99.3%, and there was a daily waiting list of 20 to 25 patients for surgery or treatment. All that growth left the hospital in quite a predicament by the early 1960s. The hospital found itself at near capacity. On June 5, 1965, an entirely new Brownsville General Hospital was constructed on Simpson Road. During this same year, the old property had been purchased by Frank Bock, who had renovated the Horner building into the Golden Age Nursing Home.
Relocation to the Golden Age Nursing Home
A new hospital opened in 1965. The old Brownsville General Hospital found a new owner and reopened as the Golden Age Nursing Home. The Brownsville General Hospital was converted to the Golden Age Retirement Home, a center for care for the elderly.
Stories of abuse and neglect of residents plagued the Golden Age Nursing Home, spurring a federal investigation in the early 1980s. During the 1980’s Golden Age Retirement Home became the focus of an epic legal battle when the facility was cited for multiple serious code violations including unsanitary conditions, deficiencies in infection control, neglect, and more by the department of health.
By this time, however, Brownsville was in economic troubles, as well as experiencing a population decline due to the collapse of the steel industry and a substantial number of layoffs in nearby coal mines. Due to these situations at hand, it was rumored as early as 1976 amongst people that the hospital was already in danger of closing. The Golden Age Nursing Home permanently shut down in 1985.
January 8, 2006 citizens and employees watched as the second Brownsville General Hospital was closed due to financial issues, as well as labor disputes. This left 260 employees out of work until October of 2007, when a non-profit board obtained the hospital due to bureaucracy. The hospital was reopened on May 22, 2008 under the name Brownsville Tri-County Hospital, but had closed once again on Februrary 12, 2009 once again due to financial issues.