Access to quality medical care and attracting and retaining medical personnel have long been challenges of living in “small-town America.” In the Adirondack Region of New York, Mary McClellan Hospital was created to solve that problem. The hospital grew from a philanthropic idea of local resident Edwin McClellan to the pride of the town of Cambridge. By the early 2000s however, new trends in the delivery of medical care in upstate New York made it difficult for small rural hospitals such as that of Mary McClellan Hospital, once essential havens of care, to prosper.

Learn more about Mary McClellan Hospital and other abandoned sites of the Adirondacks in a live, virtual talk with photographer John Lazzaro, author of A Vanishing New York: Ruins Across the Empire State on January 10th! This talk is free for Untapped New York Insiders! Not an Insider yet? Use code JOINUS and get your first month free.

A Vanishing New York Photo Talk: The Adirondacks

Tahawus Upper Works abandoned building

Edwin McClellan, a Cambridge, New York native, was born in 1861 and graduated from Washington Academy and then Yale College in 1884. McClellan went on to work for the Foster Milburn Company of Buffalo, a patent medicine manufacturer and distributor. Then in 1915 during a trip to his family home in Cambridge, McClellan met with local leaders about his intentions to build a hospital for the town and the surrounding areas of Washington County. His intention was simple: improve the quality of medical care available to local residents.

Postcard image of Mary McClellan Hospital
Postcard image of Mary McClellan Hospital

Designed by New York City Architect Willam Mynderse, Mary McClellan Hospital (named after Edwin’s mother) was completed in just three years. Officially opening as a state-of-the-art hospital in 1919, Mary McClellan added a nursing school to the grounds in 1923 which operated with Yale University and Skidmore College. Tuition plus room and board for nurses at Florence Nightingale Hall was $625 per year. In addition to overseeing and funding the construction of Mary McClellan, Edwin left a generous endowment to support the hospital’s operation and financial needs. In turn, medical care was provided to local residents at a low cost.

Postcard image of Mary McClellan Hospital’s Florence Nightingale Hall

Throughout the following decades, Mary McClellan Hospital became the most important medical facility in the region. New wings were added in 1966 and 1983 along with a new nursing facility in 1971. By the 1990s, however, Mary McClellan Hospital was transferring more patients to larger urban facilities with specialized medical technology. The hospital closed for good in 2003. See photos of the building in it abandoned state in the images below:

Mary McClellan Hospital
Main building
abandoned chapel at Mary McClellan Hospital
Hospital chapel
Mary McClellan Hospital
Florence Nightingale Hall entrance
abandoned room at Mary McClellan Hospital
Florence Nightingale Hall – common room

See more photos by the author in a visual talk on January 10th, free for Untapped New York Insiders!

A Vanishing New York Photo Talk: The Adirondacks

A Vanishing New York

Next, check out 12 Abandoned Hospitals and Asylums in and Around NYC