Nearing A Century of History

Emma Gehman Ruth was born on the family farm in Bally, Pennsylvania. During her childhood she experienced unusual health problems which continued into her teenage years. Because of her illness, she lived in Philadelphia with a woman physician where she received treatment and recovered completely. Emma, as a young women, also traveled alone to Canada, Florida, and California. While in California, Emma took nurses' training and began to work in the health profession, concentrating particularly on assisting mothers in childbirth.

In 1921, now back in Pennsylvania, Emma bought a stone house at Third and Juniper Street in Quakertown. In this house she opened a hospital and convalescent home, a facility recorded in various sources as "Miss Gehman's Hospital", "The Gehman Hospital" or "Gehman's Maternity Hospital." Her facility prospered and became a respected hospital in Quakertown.

Miss Gehmans Hospital-Convalescent Home 1920's

In 1927 when it became clear that the community needed a larger hospital, Emma Gehman was on the committee formed to plan a new facility. On June 29 of that same year, Emma's services to the community were recognized as she turned the first spade of dirt at the ground breaking ceremony on a parcel of land on Park Avenue that was donated by Miss Sallie Thomas in memory of her late brother, Ellwood. She appears, in her uniform, in the photograph below of officials at the occasion.

Quakertown Community Leaders 1927

Her building was purchased by two doctors who converted it to their offices, later known as the Tice Clinic. As part of her sales agreement in closing the hospital, Miss Gehman promised not to open another health center within ten miles of Quakertown. Therefore, after leaving Quakertown, Emma moved back to her hometown of Bally, married Harvey Ruth, and opened a nursing home called "Ruth's Convalescent Haven."

Quakertown Community Hospital officially opened on June 5, 1930. The building, equipment, and furnishings were state-of-the-art and considered an example of a modern hospital. Through the generosity of the community, the hospital staff, and visionaries, the hospital would undergo numerous expansions over the years. The most ambitious effort came from Alfred Johnson, named “Mr. Hospital” for his unwavering support to the hospital from 1933 until his retirement in 1971.

Old Hospital

In August of 1995, Quakertown Community Hospital became part of the St. Luke’s Health Network and was renamed St. Luke’s Quakertown Hospital. Hospital expansion continued with the opening of a medical office building on the hospital grounds, both a Bone & Joint Institute and Heart & Vascular Center less than a mile from the hospital campus, and the Upper Perkiomen Outpatient Center 7 miles west of the main campus.

In December of 2010, the hospital purchased 30 acres of land on Route 663 to be the site of further expansion and growth. The hospital is currently developing plans to develop this land to potentially include both outpatient services, as well as a facility to replace the existing hospital.


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