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

James Walker Memorial Hospital

James Walker, 1826 - 1901
Financier and namesake

In early 1900 James Walker, stonemason, contractor and builder donated the money needed to build a new hospital in the city of Wilmington, NC. Walker supervised the building of the hospital but did not survive to see it open. He died on March 15, 1901, ten weeks before the completion of the building.

Upon opening the hospital had fifty beds, a laundry, heating plant and separate wards for men and women. In 1904 the first of several additions opened containing a ward for African Americans, a dispensary and nurses quarters. In 1915 a Contagious Ward was added and a Maternity and Children's Ward opened in 1917. The hospital continued to grow adding a new nurses quarters in 1926 and enlarging it in 1937 and 1943. Additional additions to the hospital increased the beds to 285 by 1966.

Portrait of James Walker, 1902, by Margaret Walker Lippitt, in the collections of Cape Fear Museum, Wilmington, NC.

Of course when James Walker Hospital was completed in about 1901, it was the envy of the whole state.  It as the nicest hospital at that time ...

Dr. Bertram Williams                            Physician

It was … to begin with it was just the one center building that had the columns you know and all.  They added a wing on to it. ... You had to go down a little bit and that’s where the children’s ward and the maternity ward was in that other building.

And then, let’s see, then they added a wing, ... a wing that had all private rooms on the second floor.  There were private rooms in that wing.  ...   They had a basement.  They had the men’s ward in the basement I remember and you know it was all segregated.  The men’s  ward and the women’s ward and all that sort of thing. 

Ina Newton May JWMH ‘39

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