A milestone celebration was held at Phelps in June to mark the official opening of the hospital’s new main entrance and beautifully appointed lobby. Guests included local community leaders and residents, donors, physicians, hospital staff and volunteers. High above the grand entrance, on the façade of the hospital’s medical services building, was a newly installed eye-catching sign displaying the Phelps Hospital/Northwell Health logo.
A special guest at the celebration was David Rockefeller, representing his family, whose steady support of Phelps dates back 125 years, when his great uncle William Rockefeller funded the opening of a single-room, three-bedded facility known as Tarrytown Hospital. In 1906, his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Sr., made the first major pledge to support local healthcare, and his father, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., became active in the affairs and finances of Tarrytown Hospital and another small hospital that opened in Ossining around 1907.
In 1949, in response to an increased demand for hospital services, David’s brother, John D. Rockefeller III, led the initiative to build a new, larger and centrally located hospital. The Rockefeller family ultimately donated $1,225,000 for the construction of the new hospital, with the condition that the amount be matched by the community. Over the next two years, area residents, businesses and physicians gave the matching funds – demonstrating their strong desire to have the new community hospital, which opened in 1956 as Phelps Memorial Hospital.
As Phelps Board Chair Richard Sinni expressed during his presentation, “The Rockefellers have been very important partners of Phelps. Without their contributions, this hospital would not exist.” Mr. Sinni also thanked the Villages of Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown and Ossining and the Town of Mount Pleasant for their continued support, and saluted the hospital volunteers and Phelps Auxiliary for their immeasurable contributions to Phelps. The new lobby information desk was dedicated to the Auxiliary, and one of the corner seating areas was dedicated to donor and volunteer Eva Marie Dahling of Sleepy Hollow and her late husband, Gunther.
Phelps was honored to welcome State Senator Terrence Murphy, Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett, and Northwell Health Sr. VP and Regional Executive Director Dennis Connors, who all gave congratulatory remarks at the ceremony. In his presentation, Phelps President & CEO Daniel Blum expressed appreciation for everyone’s patience during the months of construction and pride in the results. “We now have a unique environment with intimate seating arrangements, increased comfort and privacy, workstations and even a coffee bar. The lobby is just one of the many recent enhancements at Phelps, and all of the changes are contributing to our ability to provide our community with an exceptional hospital experience.”
As described by Mr. Sinni, the lobby is the “gateway to the new Phelps.” He concluded his remarks with a quote by Mark Twain: “If you stand still, they will pass you by,” then added, “I hope what you see today and over the past years demonstrates that Phelps is not going to stand still.”