Horse-drawn ambulance at Bellevue Hospital in 1895. Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
As many of you know, the first patient with Ebola in New York City is now quarantined at Bellevue Hospital on the east side of Manhattan. We thought we would look at vintage images of the fascinating complex, which has been around since 1736. Appropriately, it was actually founded as a quarantine hospital and is the oldest public hospital in the United States.
It was originally located further downtown at City Hall, with just six beds. But as the city expanded, it was thus too close to the settled part of the city. With the grid system coming into play, Belle Vue farm was purchased along the East River for the new hospital. When this map was submitted in 1811, Belle Vue had just been purchased but the new building was noted on the map, #60 on the bottom of the map, along the East River.
Bellevue served patients regardless of pay, hence its reference as an alms hospital.
1852 print, image via NYPL
Bellevue Hospital complex in 1906. Image via NYPL.
It was believed that the fresh air and country air would be beneficial for patients.. Veranda of Bellevue Hospital in 1899. Image via NYPL.
Interior quadrangle at Bellevue. Image via NYU.
Aerial view, including French Gothic-style chapel, built of stone quarried from the East River. It was the first Roman Catholic chapel at Bellevue. Image around 1914 via NYCago
New buildings side-by-side-with original ones. Wurts Bros. phoot. Image via NYPL.
Photographs were taken of the old buildings in 1938 prior to demolition. Images via NYPL.
Old administration building before demolition. Image via NYPL.
1931 psychiatric building at Bellevue Hospital.
Today some of the old buildings are encapsulated within new ones. Image via NYU.
Check out how Steven Soderbergh is recreating 19th century hospitals New York City in The Knick and see more from our vintage photos column and