Centennial: 100 Years of Stories

January 10, 2012 marked the centennial anniversary of Greenville Health System. For us, the centennial is an opportunity to reflect on the stories of all those in and around our community who have helped us transform health care — and the lives of those we are proud to serve.

Join us as we commemorate 100 years of healing compassionately, improving constantly and teaching innovatively. For us, this also is a time to look ahead because the most powerful stories of GHS’ first 100 years are the ones yet to be finished. With new medical students arriving annually and community wellness initiatives expanding throughout the Upstate, GHS stands ready to embark on a second century of high-quality, community-centered health care.


GHS Logo Transformation

Over the years, our logo has been adapted to reflect the changes from a small city hospital in 1912 to an academic health system of today.

Historical Milestones

On January 10, 1912, 80 years after becoming a city, Greenville opened its first community hospital – the beginning of Greenville Health System.

When Greenville, South Carolina, was incorporated as a city in 1831, there was ONE doctor in town and NO hospital. By the 1890s, Greenville was a bustling blue-collar city of 10,000 with 50,000 residents in the county. More doctors had moved in. Several even ran their own mini-hospitals, called “sanitariums,”, for their private patients. But for the general population, there wasn’t a hospital open to all. A newspaper editorial in 1895 declared, “A charity that has become an absolute necessity is a city hospital with a casualty ward.” The risks of malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases ran high.

That year, the Greenville Hospital Association board was formed to raise money to build a permanent hospital. It included the Ladies Auxiliary Board of the Hospital Association. Together, together they raised the private funds needed to purchase a large sanitarium, which proudly reopened as City Hospital on January 10, 1912.

Three days later, the City Hospital Training School for Nurses was founded and accepted its first student, setting the course for an emphasis on clinical training and education that is integral to fulfilling our mission.

The 84-bed City Hospital would evolve into Greenville Health System, the county’s largest employer and one of the nation’s most respected healthcare system with a heritage of caring for generations and a vision to do so into the future.

Decades of Care

The Beginning: 1831-1912

Eighty years after becoming a city, Greenville opened its first community hospital – City Hospital…the beginning of Greenville Health System.


Greenville boasted five railroads, six public schools, 47 churches, two colleges, an opera house, six miles of paved streets and finally …its own community hospital. The beginning of Greenville Health System happened in 1912.


“Do and Be Silent” was a motto of nursing students at City Hospital…it happened at Greenville Health System in the 1920′s.


Nursing Superintendent Byrd Holmes set the tone for what an administrator should be for decades to come. Her impact was felt at Greenville Health System beginning in the 1930′s.


James Sweeney was on-duty when the greatest tragedy in Greenville’s history occurred…resetting his career path for the next 40 years. It happened at Greenville Health System in the 1940′s.


Allen Bennett lost his life in WWII. In his honor, a community would have healthcare for generations. It happened at Greenville Health System in the 1950′s.


Over three Sundays, 163,000 Upstate residents were vaccinated for polio. It happened at Greenville Health System in the 1960′s.


Edna Childers didn’t set out to break any records when she began as a hospital volunteer, but 29, 000 volunteer hours later she did just that. It began at Greenville Health System in the 1970′s.


The last baby born at Greenville General Hospital and the first baby born at Greenville Memorial Hospital, happened on the same day at Greenville Health System in the 1980′s.


The longest serving employee of GHS was Doris Culbertson Bramlette. Hired as a nurse at Greenville General Hospital in 1942, Doris was the nursing administrative coordinator when she retired 50 years later. It happened at Greenville Health System in the 1990′s.


For GHS, the new Millennium brought change and tremendous growth.


GHS wellness centers, physician practices and specialty facilities wrap the region in total care, offering the right care in the right place at the right time.

The Next Century

There’s a new kind of medical school in Upstate South Carolina, a place where tomorrow’s doctors train alongside today’s physicians and all members of the interdisciplinary health care team from day one. It’s a medical school where hands-on, real-world experience isn’t a mere promise for the future, but a way of life. Where students learn using the latest information, clinical, and simulation technology so that they know how to leverage technology in a rapidly changing world. Where students develop the leadership, clinical, and interpersonal skills essential to delivering the next generation of patient-focused health care with confidence and compassion.

Introducing the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, a four-year medical school located at the heart of the Greenville Health System, and backed by two decades of partnership in providing comprehensive medical education to students from the University of South Carolina, the state’s largest public university.

This is more than a new school. It’s a new school of thought. 

To learn more about the school, visit greenvillemed.sc.edu.