Speare Memorial Hospital

History

For more than 100 years, Speare Memorial Hospital has been a cornerstone of community health and wellness, serving residents and visitors to central New Hampshire since 1899. Healthcare has changed a lot over time, but high quality, compassionate care delivered by a cadre of skilled and dedicated doctors and nurses, remains at the heart of Speare Memorial Hospital’s mission.

Our most recent renovation and expansion was designed with you in mind-centralizing services, expanding health and wellness programming and increasing patient privacy-and upgrading to accommodate and respond to advances in medicine and technology. The result is a 21st century, state-of-the-art facility that stands ready to be your resource center for health and wellness across the spectrum of life.

Just two years after breaking ground on its $15 million renovation and expansion project, members of the Speare Memorial Hospital Board of Directors, state representatives, medical staff, employees, volunteers and community leaders celebrated the hospital’s grand reopening on November 5, 2006. The addition of 23,000 square feet of space has resulted in the reorganization and renovation of departments to make patient and visitor access and flow more efficient, increased parking, and updated infrastructure and state-of-the art technology to support patients’ health and wellness across the spectrum of life.

The objectives of this renovation/expansion were:

  • To provide much needed space in the growing departments-surgical services, oncology, laboratory, radiology, and the birthing suite
  • To relocate frequently used outpatient registration and services- Laboratory, Radiology, Oncology, Cardiac Rehab, Cardiopulmonary, Surgical Services and Dietary Services-to a central location off the lobby of the main entrance.
  • To provide our patients with the privacy they expect and deserve and to create a new front entrance to the hospital that provides easy access for patients and visitors. The renovation/expansion project created two distinct entrances to the hospital – Emergency Department, and Medical Office Building entrance is located off of Avery Street, and the new front entrance is located off Highland Street.

Since then, Speare has added additional service lines including the Sleep Lab in the summer of 2010, and the Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Center in February 2014. These followed the acquisition of Plymouth State University’s infirmary building, now known as Speare’s northwest wing, and the demolition of the Medical Center on Avery Street. Replacing the medical office building on the hospital campus was the construction of a brand new facility— Speare Memorial at Boulder Point—which opened in January 2010.

Speare Memorial Hospital had its beginnings in 1899 with the creation of the Emily Balch Cottage Hospital, named for the mother of Catherine Holmes Balch of Holderness, one of the thirteen original organizers. It took $700 to open the doors of that first community hospital. The hospital was rebuilt in 1920 on a new location after a fire destroyed the original structure. In 1940, Mr. Sceva Speare, a prominent banker from Nashua, made a $50,000 challenge to the community to match a donation from him to build a new hospital. It took nine years to raise the needed funds, but on October 17, 1949, construction began at the hospital’s current location with a final cost of $523,400.  The new hospital was dedicated on May 2, 1951.

In 1985, the hospital underwent a major renovation adding 10,000 square feet and new equipment at a cost of $2.1 million. In addition to improvements to nearly every department, the hospital added an intensive care unit to help individuals recovering from critical illness. 1989 brought the addition of a new operating suite and space for storage and receiving were added. The Emergency Department and outpatient areas were renovated and expanded in 1996, through substantial support from the Rooke Family. The medical-surgical and obstetrics units were renovated in 1998.