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Western Maine Health - History of Western Maine
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History of Western Maine Health

The historical development of Stephens Memorial Hospital (SMH) provides a good illustration of the strength and determination of its founders to meet the healthcare needs of their community. SMH opened on February 4, 1957, in (what used to be) the Foster House on Main Street and contained 25 patient beds. Space was very tight but the dedication and hard work of the staff led to the hospital's future growth. Ten years later, a new wing was added increasing the number of beds to 41. At this time, the medical staff consisted of six physicians.

In 1968, Harrison Hahn arrived as the new president and CEO and during his tenure of 27 years, the hospital dramatically increased its services—such as providing 24-hour emergency room on-call coverage, creating the Special Care Unit, adding physical therapy and respiratory therapy services. Two more wings were built in 1977 expanding the hospital building to accommodate 50 patient beds.

During the late 1970s and 1980s, the hospital underwent a tremendous period of growth, including:

  • Adding pediatric services
  • Providing 24-hour in-house ER coverage
  • Offering nuclear medicine and ultrasound capabilities
  • Purchasing the building on Danforth Street as permanent site for the Thrift Shop
The 1980s culminated with the construction of the Ripley Medical Building in 1986 and the formation of Western Maine Health Care Corporation in 1987. Another growth period saw the addition of PACE Paramedic Service, Western Maine Family Practice, Western Maine OB/GYN, Western Maine Pediatrics, and the Health Information Library.

In 1996, Timothy A. Churchill arrived as the new president and CEO of Western Maine Health and Stephens Memorial Hospital. A significant milestone occurred in 1999, when Western Maine Health joined the state's most sophisticated and far-reaching health system—MaineHealth®. This invaluable partnership links us and our patients more closely to Maine Medical Center, Miles Health Care, Spring Harbor Hospital, and St. Andrews Hospital.

Our physicians and employees are working closely with their colleagues throughout the MaineHealth family to ensure that the healthcare needs of our patients continue to be delivered with the highest level of quality.

Under Mr. Churchill's tenure, WMH has also:
Learn more about our cancer treatment options.
Learn about our physical rehabilitation program.
Health Information

181 Main Street, Norway, Maine 04268 | (207) 743-5933, TTY (for the hearing impaired): (207) 743-1597