In Training: Nursing Education in New Hanover County
 1901 - 1966

            Niestlie Drug Store



In the early days of the 20th century African American physicians in Wilmington, NC did not have access to hospital facilities to treat their patients. The two hospitals in the city offered segregated beds for the African Americans but only white physicians had hospital privileges.

At this time seven African American physicians in Wilmington had organized a medical society and began to raise funds to build a hospital for African Americans. In 1920 they purchased Niestlie Drug Store , a two story frame building at 415 N. 7th Street  and on September 29, 1920  Community Hospital was founded.

Dr. Foster Burnett, one of the founders and the first administer of Community Hospital. Hired in 1922 Salome Taylor was the first appointed Superintendent of Community Hospital and the Superintendent of Nurses. Under her leadership the School of Nursing was founded in 1927. Ms Taylor retired from Community Hospital  in 1950.

Community Hospital. ca. 1938

Okay. …okay, coming in through the…well, coming around in the Tenth Street you  were at the entrance, the front of the hospital and before you got inside you had to…you could walk in on the ground floor which was where the clinical areas were.  And by being on the ground floor you got to meet a lot of people and plus … that there were laboratories and there was the X-ray department on that floor.   

Mildred Jones Floyd     CH ‘50   

Community Hospital, ca. 1950

Photographs Courtesy of
Dr. Hubert Eaton, Jr.

Yeah, when we came there was this magnificent facility, red brick facility, which was a three building complex.  It was the hospital in its majestic sense, the nursing home, we called it that, was an adjoining building and a recreation building just to the south which was called The Soda Shop and belonged to the Dr. Burnett-Dr. Eaton family.  That was sort of the hub of recreation, of formal recreational activity.  So those three buildings joined into a complex just across the street from the Williston Industrial High School at 10th and Castle Street.

Johnnie Sutton Fields    CH ‘51

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