John Graves Ford Memorial Hospital was located on West Main Street in Georgetown, Kentucky.
In 1916, John Graves Ford, a grandson of Mrs. John B. Graves, was stricken with appendicitis. He was taken to a hospital in Lexington where he later died after a brief illness. To forestall the possibility of future occurrences, Mrs. Graves jump started funding for a new hospital by donating $35,000 that would serve as a memorial to her grandson.3 4 Construction on the new hospital began later that year and was finished by 1917.3
In 1952, a new addition was constructed north of the existing facility. The two-story structure featured a full basement, a new oil-based boiler system, numerous patient rooms and a emergency room.5 Another expansion occurred in 1972, when a western wing opened with twenty patient rooms, two nurses’ stations, and a family room.4 It was designed by Donald B. Shelton and was completed for $150,000.
The financial situation of the hospital was put into question during the 1970’s.3 Several attempts were made to sell the hospital to a private organization but those efforts failed. In 1984, the hospital closed its doors after it was purchased by a regional healthcare provider and reopened in a larger, more spacious location on the outskirts of the city.3
Edmund Karam of Lexington purchased the former hospital in 1985 and attempted to diversify the hospital site into offices.3 The original structure was renovated to house the Edward D. Jones & Company and other businesses, but it lasted only a few years. In 1999, with minimal upkeep and major water damage overtaking much of the structure, the city of Georgetown condemned the property.
An Indiana company and a Louisville firm requested permission from the city to convert the hospital to an assisted living community for senior citizens.3 Renovations were expected to take one-year to complete, and each apartment would have included a bedroom, living room, a small kitchenette and a bathroom, with larger common rooms scattered about. The total cost of renovations was estimated at $1.8 million, but due to deteriorating conditions at the property site, the firms withdrew their plan in 2003.
In 2005, the city took up condemnation efforts against the owners. Karam and his son, Abe, had failed to pay the fines which had been levied by the city.1 2 The owners had until July 21, 2005 to review their financial situations before the fate of the hospital went before the Georgetown City Council. The city had been going through with condemnation and demolition proceedings at the site, but at a council meeting July 7, the owners requested for a 90-day extension before filing financial paperwork as several people were interested in buying the property for renovation. Those efforts failed and the Georgetown Board of Adjustment voted to allow the demolition.3 Georgetown Mayor Everette Varney said the town had received several inquiries about renovating the building, but the extent of the damage it had sustained made restoration no longer feasible.
“I made a stand for quite some time that it should be saved, both for the meaning it conveyed to the community and for the excellent architecture, especially in the front part.”
-Scott County historian Ann Bevins
Asbestos abatement began in April 2006 and the hospital was demolished by May 2007.3
- “Fate of old hospital remains undecided.” Georgetown News-Graphic 9 July 2005. 13 July 2005 Article. Feb. 24, 2002.
- “New plans made for old hospital.” Georgetown News-Graphic 24 Feb. 2002. 26 Jan. 2006 Article.
- Abbott, Dean. “Old hospital demolished.” Georgetown News-Graphic 23 April 2006. 19 Feb. 2007 Article.
- “John Graves Ford Memorial Hospital.” John Graves Ford Memorial Hospital, Brochure.