Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A History of the Children's Hospital College Hill Campus

A glimpse of the Cincinnati Children’s College Hill Campus dating back more than 150 years


Ohio Female College

The Ohio Female College is one of the institutions that gave the community its name, College Hill, and its character as a center of learning. It was only the fifth college in the country to provide a liberal education for women.

College in 1852

The original campus had three buildings and 15 acres of woods and gardens. It was home to more than 250 women pursuing their interests in higher learning. The location was touted as being “central, accessible, elevated and healthy…and sufficiently far from the city to be free from its temptations and dissipating tendencies, yet near enough to enjoy its privileges.”

College in 1869

The main building was rebuilt after a fire in 1868. The college’s unique ventilating system was considered one of the first forms of air conditioning and gained much notoriety.

Rear view campus

There were flower and fruit orchards, a vegetable garden and a two-acre lake that fed from a natural spring which provided opportunities for rowing and ice skating. A stable was available for keeping horses.

The college could not afford to stay open and was sold to the Cincinnati Sanitarium in December 1873.


Cincinnati Sanitarium

“One of the largest psychiatric hospitals west of the Alleghenies,” the Cincinnati Sanitarium was founded by three physicians who recognized a need for a private care psychiatric facility in Cincinnati. They purchased the 40-acre property and transformed the buildings for the treatment of mental illness and alcohol and opium addictions.

Main campus

In addition to the main hospital, there were four two-story cottages, an amusement hall with a billiard hall in the basement, a flower conservatory, several physical plant buildings, an ice house and even a station for the Cincinnati Northwestern railroad.

Rest Cottage

In 1913 a nearby large residence adjacent to the property was purchased. Called the “Rest Cottage”, it was used in the care of individuals with “nervous and nutritional disorders”.

The grounds

The buildings were situated in the middle of a 30-acre park with fruit trees, shrubs, flowers, an artificial lake, gravel walks, a highly cultivated vegetable garden and a living spring. A major change in the landscape occurred in 1927 when the lake was drained.


Emerson A. North Hospital

In 1956, the Cincinnati Sanitarium was renamed for Emerson Arthur North, MD, a pioneer in clinical psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati. The 95-bed psychiatric hospital specialized in serving adults, adolescents and children in need of treatment for behavioral, emotional and chemical dependency problems.

During the 1960s and early 70s, Emerson A. North Hospital became part of the Cincinnati Mental Health Institute, serving as the inpatient component of the community mental health centers. A new facility was built in 1988 (Phoenix International). The hospital closed in 1994 when its services moved to Providence Hospital in Mt. Airy


Phoenix International

The campus was occupied for six years by Phoenix International, a company that conducted clinical trails of drugs for the pharmaceutical industry. The clinic closed after it was sold to another company and operations were consolidated.

December 2002

Cincinnati Children’s College Hill Campus

The Convalescent Hospital for Children generously provided the funding to purchase the Hamilton Avenue property and facility for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

The Cincinnati Children’s College Hill Campus, which opened in December 2002, provides an extended hospitalization treatment program for children and adolescents who suffer from chronic mental illness and impaired functioning. An inpatient program also is offered at this location.