Our History



The principles of homeopathic medicine come to Rochester in the mid-1800s with the arrival of Drs. John Taylor and Augustus Biegler.

Based on the writings and research of Dr. Samuel Christian Frederick Hahnemann, a well-educated German physician of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, homeopathy:

  • Stresses the treatment of disease by those drugs which produce symptoms in a healthy patient resembling those seen in a sick patient

  • Understands the importance of psychological factors in sickness

It is when a disagreement between the liberals and traditionalists of homeopathy occurs that Dr. Joseph A. Biegler, son of Augustus, and a handful of Hahnemannites secede from the County Homeopathic Society and plan the opening of their own hospital. Hahnemann Homeopathic Hospital is the result of their efforts.

The Selden Homestead is leased for $500 a year and renewed for one year at $1,200, with an option to purchase during the term of the lease for $17,000.

The six-bed hospital consists of the house and a barn. The barn is converted, with the help of the medical staff, to the Nurses' Residence.

The Board of Lady Managers, who serve as an associate board of the hospital, is believed to be the "power behind the throne" in running the hospital.

Names prominent in the history of Rochester are involved with the early days of the hospital—among the first Board members are Rufus K. Dryer, a banker and first president of the board; Joseph T. Cunningham, carriage manufacturer; and Dr. Algernon S. Crapsy, a liberal Episcopalian destined for national fame.

All religions and faiths are represented among the founders and all have faith in the Hahnemann ideology, while at the same time believing in the philosophy of the fledgling institution which is restated in the first Annual Report: "A fundamental trust of the hospital organization is, that while there is a vacant place, no one, however destitute or forlorn, if sick, shall be refused admission and careful treatment."

As Biegler and his supporters learned early on, there was much more to the founding of a hospital than the declaration of principles of treatment. It was, and continues to be, much hard work and the generosity of inspired friends that make a hospital a reality.


In memory of her parents, Susanne Jeanette and Louis Stanislas Hargous, Nina Hargous Appleton gives the hospital $17,000 to purchase the property as well as making three beds available for those patients who could not afford hospital care. These gifts are given as a testimonial to Dr. Biegler, reflecting Mrs. Appleton's grateful appreciation for the care he gave her parents.


In recognition of Mrs. Appleton's generosity, the Board of Trustees votes to change the hospital's name to Hargous Memorial Hahnemann Hospital. Training School for Nurses of the Hahnemann Hospital opens its doors.





The hospital's officers recognize that the future growth of the hospital depends upon the generosity of the community. Upon realizing that people do not respond in making donations to a memorial hospital, with Mrs. Appleton's blessing the name of the hospital is once again changed, this time to Hahnemann Hospital of Rochester.

The hospital owns two ambulances—one on wheels and one on runners. When a "hurry call" (emergency) comes in, the floor nurse blows a whistle kept at the South entrance near the doctor's office—three blows for fast ambulance, and one blow when the driver can take his time.


Rufus A. Sibley's generosity in funding the Sibley building lays the foundation for future development of the hospital.

Eight thousand loads of ashes are used to fill the basin between the hospital and the Nurses' Residence, thus enabling grass and trees to be planted to create a new lawn area.


The hospital receives a new ambulance from the Cunningham Carriage Factory. It is painted black with red trimmings, and the interior is lined with mahogany. With it come two horses, a double harness, and a new uniform for the driver.

The hospital finds friends in Mrs. Maria Eastman and her son George. Mrs. Eastman conceives the plan and furnishes the means for the hospital to maintain a visiting nurse to give service to the needy. This type of service becomes synonymous with the term "Eastman Nurse." After his mother's death in 1907, George Eastman continues to provide this service.


Hahnemann Hospital Nursing Training School is licensed by the State Board of Regents.


Financed by the hospital's directors, as well as Mr. E.N. Curtice, Mr. H.B. Graves, and Mr. C.L. Griffeth, the Ward building is erected which increases the hospital's capacity to 50 beds.


Made possible by funds received from Mr. George Eastman, a new three-story building is constructed to include an operating room, x-ray room, and room for 30 additional beds.





Public donations allow the hospital's campus to expand to six acres.


A new Nurses' Residence is built and nurses no longer need to live in the "barn." According to the Secretary's report of February 1, 1915, the new residence is "of colonial design, and is as fine a piece of architecture as one would wish to see, and fully demonstrates that there is beauty in simplicity."

The hospital receives its first motorized ambulance, a gift from industrialist George W. Todd.


An administration and maternity building is built on the site of the old homestead, the original hospital site.


In a new age when homeopaths and allopaths are united and the former name no longer has significance, the hospital becomes Highland Hospital of Rochester, reflecting its proximity to the beautiful park which Ellwanger & Barry Realty, Co. have given the city.

George B. Landers, M.D., comes to Highland as its first superintendent, a position he will hold for the next quarter century.


Three Rochester hospitals (Highland Hospital, Rochester General, and The Genesee) unite in an appeal for building funds. Until this time, endowments and improvements have been made almost exclusively through gifts of benefactors.


The North Building is constructed.


Additions are made to the Nurses' Residence.


Highland Hospital School of Nursing publishes its first yearbook.





Highland Hospital School of Nursing receives full accreditation from the National League for Nursing.


Emergency Department and Nurses' lounge and lockers are funded by a gift from the Ford Foundation.


Staff house and rear parking lot are constructed.


Addition is made to the Nurses' Residence.


New 11-bed Intensive Care Unit opens.


Mary Louise Kelly leaves Highland funds from her estate, used for equipment and furnishings in the Radiology Department.

April 4-10 is Diamond Jubilee Week, celebrated with an Open House, Ball, Nurses' Day, Tea, and other festivities.

The first Medical Explorer Unit (Boy Scouts of America) in Monroe County is sponsored by Highland Medical Staff.


Radiation Therapy Department becomes operational with cobalt gamma rays being used as a course of treatment, opening new frontiers against disease.


Charles P. Schlegel bequeaths his home on South Avenue to the hospital.

Highland opens its Family Medicine program, the first such program in the state and third of its kind in the country.


Highland becomes a major teaching affiliate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Title is granted by the American Medical Association upon the recommendation of the University of Rochester.






Another first: Highland Hospital bans cigarette sales.

Tuition refund plan is offered to Highland employees as a benefit.


Highland Hospital Foundation is established, dedicated to securing funds for the hospital. The Foundation seeks financial support through various approaches which include annual and special appeals, major capital gifts, bequests, grants, and memorials.


The Women's Board of Highland becomes the Highland Hospital Auxiliary.

The Gannett Foundation donates corporate stock to be used for emergency and ambulatory care.


A new linear accelerator for radiation and treatment of cancer patients is installed. This is made possible by a major grant from the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation, Davenport-Hatch Foundation, and Ebsary Foundation, plus many other individual gifts.


Highland's ramp-garage, providing 497 parking spaces, opens.

A large bequest from Margaret Woodbury Strong helps fund a major expansion of patient care facilities in the West Wing.


Highland begins BEAT THE BLAHS, a fun time that is set aside each year during the winter doldrums, uniting management, professional staff, and support staff and bringing a smile to the faces of everyone involved, smiles that are taken back to the patient care areas and shared with patients.


After 10 years of diligent effort including planning, design, financing, and eventual construction, Highland's new West Wing opens. This major project includes the areas of: surgery; intensive care unit; operating suite of eight rooms; expanded Emergency Department; Outpatient Department for a wide variety of ambulatory care services; labor floor, delivery rooms, nursery units; Physiotherapy Department; cancer therapy unit; admissions and business office; lobby; services building; and the addition of 160 acute care beds.

Monies are received from Caroline Gannett, which are dedicated to the hospital's landscaping.

The Radiation Oncology Department is renamed the Daisy Marquis Jones Radiation Oncology Center.


Highland Hospital School of Nursing closes its doors. Highland's nurses, totaling 1,755 graduates, have passed through Highland's halls to serve in all areas of the profession and throughout the world.

Additional gifts to Highland make possible further expansion to the hospital:

  • Funds from the estate of Edwin and Clara Strasenburgh are used to construct a clinical laboratory named in their honor.

  • Bertha Guptill bequeaths funds which make possible the construction of a new Medical/Surgical Intensive Care Unit, renamed in her memory.

  • Laura DeChau donates funds which make possible an expansion in the Department of Medical Oncology, named in honor of her son.





The Highland chapel is built with funds donated by an anonymous friend.


Russell Holderman donates funds to construct the John R. Williams, Sr. Health Sciences Library.

The Intraoperative Radiation Therapy treatment program, the first in a New York State community hospital, is made possible by a grant from the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation.


Additions to Highland include Emil Muller Department of Cardiology, made possible by funds donated by Mr. Muller.

Board of Professional Nurses is established by Highland Department of Nursing.


Highland adopts current mission statement as re-dedication to hospital's original philosophy.

Geriatric Special Care Unit opens, providing acute care while meeting the special needs of the elderly patient.

Highland Auxiliary initiates Health Career Scholarship.

Funds donated by the Davenport-Hatch Foundation and the Ebsary Foundation make possible the Frank W. Allen treatment room in Radiation Oncology Department.


Highland begins work on $16 million capital improvement project. The renovation/expansion includes the areas of Obstetrics/ Gynecology; Same-Day Surgery; Medical Imaging; Internal Medicine; Employee Health; Social Work Services; Dietetic Services; and Department of Education.

NEED-A-PHYSICIAN?, Rochester's first computerized, free physician referral system is made available as a community service.

Women's HealthSource of Highland Hospital is the area's first information and referral service specifically for women's needs.

Department of Nursing institutes Clinical Ladder Advancement System (CLAS) system of nursing whereby highly motivated, skilled, and competent nurses may advance within the clinical structure.

Highland Hospital becomes a member of Voluntary Hospitals of America (VHA)—one of only 12 hospitals selected in Upstate New York.

Highland PRIDE program defines and encourages high standards for staff interaction with fellow staff members, patients, and visitors. Believing that the care and concern of the staff are the most important things that Highland has to give, the PRIDE program gives something back to the employee who exemplifies P.R.I.D.E. (Professional. Responsive. Individualized. Dedicated. Enthusiastic.)


By once again soliciting pharmaceutical suppliers, the Highland Pharmacy is able to send more than 12,000 antibiotics, vitamins, and pain relief tablets and capsules to Rochester's African sister-city Bamako, Mali.

Family Medicine receives full University of Rochester Medical School departmental status.

Highland receives $1 million dollar donation from Mr. and Mrs. Fairleigh S. Dickinson, Jr., which is directed toward the purchase of a new linear accelerator.

Gifts from the Davenport-Hatch Foundation make possible a future expansion of Radiation Oncology lobby.

Daisy Marquis Jones funding makes possible the first hypothermia treatment program in Rochester, housed in the Department of Radiation Oncology.

"Where Family Ties Begin", a unique education program is offered by the hospital's Obstetrics/Gynecology Department for mothers-to-be, fathers-to-be, parents, siblings, grandparents, and step-parents.

Highland Foundation kicks off "The Commitment Continues" capital fund drive.

The Jacob W. Holler Family Medicine program celebrates its 20th anniversary with more than 200 graduates and two dozen faculty who are practicing and teaching throughout the country.


Senior HealthSource, developed as a direct response to the community's needs, serves as an information and referral resource which meets the special needs of the area's senior citizens. A significant gift from the Gannett Foundation makes possible the implementation of this program.

Diabetes HealthSource, made possible by a significant grant from the Marie C. and Joseph C. Wilson Foundation, is available for all members of the community with diabetes and includes individual and group instruction, newsletters, support groups, and mentor programs.

A gift from Frank Lovejoy, M.D., is dedicated to improvements in the Family Medicine Library. Dr. Lovejoy's gifts have made possible many needed facilities and programs at Highland.

Funds from an anonymous donor help to establish a nursing scholarship fund.


Highland Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation program is initiated to serve patients who have had a heart attack, open heart surgery, angina, or anyone who has risk factors for heart disease.

Highland Auxiliary presents the hospital a check for $100,000. The support given by the Board of Lady Managers and Women's Board of Highland Hospital as well as the present-day Auxiliary have proven a mainstay for the ongoing financial success of the hospital.

Women's HealthSource receives citation for achievement in health education at the Ninth Annual New York State Education Awards ceremony.

Highland's 384 volunteers work almost 50,000 hours providing those extra services which assist the patient, visitor, and staff.

Highland celebrates its 100th anniversary-Centennial!

Construction begins on addition to North Building, which will accommodate a new linear accelerator vault and support space. The new linear accelerator represents the most modern technology in the field.





Highland expands obstetrical services by opening the Perinatal Center and naming Dr. Tom McNanley director. The new center enhances the level of care being offered to maternity patients.


Highland Breast Care Center opens. It's the only center in the region to offer true comprehensive breast health services. The center offers services that cover everything from risk assessment to medical and surgical treatment.


  • A newly renovated Family Maternity Center opens on the 3rd floor of the hospital. The new facility includes a special care nursery and more private rooms.
  • Highland opens the first of its kind women’s inpatient unit on East 5. The unit provides a private place for women recovering from surgery.
  • New York State provides funding to the Highland Breast Care Center to purchase a state-of-the-art digital mammography.


  • The Highland Breast Care Center begins offering digital mammography to women.
  • The Highland Auxiliary renovates the intensive care unit waiting room. The room is dedicated for long-time auxiliary volunteer, Bonnie Dengler.
  • Highland breaks ground for a major renovation to radiology.


  • Highland celebrates its 100 year anniversary of providing superior health care to women in our community.
  • The new Radiology wing is dedicated.
  • The renovated PACU and Same Day Surgery Center opens.
  • $3 million grant is received from New York State for the ED expansion project.


  • The Evarts Joint Center opens.
  • Two additional operating rooms are constructed.
  • $10 million Capital Campaign is launched.