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Wyoming County Healthcare Center, Inc.

 5950 US 6, Tunkhannock, PA 18657
 

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History Through the Hallways

July 1, 2024

A Progression Through Time

By: Sara Ergott


The Wyoming County Healthcare Center, Inc. (formerly known as Tyler Memorial Hospital) sits atop a picturesque hill overlooking the Endless Mountains along Route 6 between Tunkhannock and Meshoppen, Pennsylvania. This building’s roots run deeply through the history of this area and its people. The sections of each wing can tell countless stories from the doctors, nurses, staff, and citizens that walked its hallways since 1965. Yet this building was not the beginning of the healthcare industry in this region.

The need for healthcare services in this rural part of Pennsylvania spans back to when doctors didn’t have hospitals or clinics and would make house calls to people in their homes. These doctors were stretched as they had to travel miles from house to house or farm to farm to care for the needs of residents living amongst the mountains and valleys of Wyoming County. The need for a common space grew evident as these doctors could not be in two places at once to provide adequate care for all of those in need. This all changed when two men sat down on a bench in Meshoppen in 1945 and discussed this exact issue. These two men were State Senator Cyrus Benton Tyler and Dr. Charles J.H. Kraft.

Dr. Kraft often sat down outside his home on a bench that bordered Senator Tyler’s property in Meshoppen to have discussions. On one of these occasions, the men struck up a conversation. Dr. Kraft was exhausted from a day’s work of delivering babies all over the countryside. According to his daughter Judy Kraft Mead, Dr. Kraft looked at Senator Tyler and stated, “I just wish we had a place that we could safely deliver babies, even a little kind of hospital to help people.” Senator Tyler pointed down the street at the old Kennard Hotel (which he owned) and said, “How about the old hotel building?”

This conversation led to Senator Tyler donating the hotel building to create Tyler Memorial Hospital, where ground was broken in June of 1946. The community rallied to support these efforts by serving over 700 hundred chicken dinners in the basement of the Meshoppen Methodist Church along with other donations coming from around the region. The hospital was up and running and growing quickly.

Over time, the space in the Kennard Hotel in Meshoppen could no longer meet the ever-growing healthcare needs of the population, so construction began on a new building space in Tunkhannock along Route 6. Ground was broken on July 6, 1964, and the new Tyler Hospital was dedicated in July of 1965. The new building construction was estimated at $1.5 million.

Tyler Memorial Hospital was then bought in January of 2010 by Mercy Hospital, a subsidiary of Catholic Health Partners, and non-profit hospital organization. In October of 2010, Catholic Health Partners announced it was selling all of their hospitals, including Tyler, to Community Health Systems Inc, a for-profit hospital system, being run by the umbrella group Commonwealth Health. As patient rates dwindled, Commonwealth Health made the decision to close the emergency room on October 23, 2021. The fate of the building was in jeopardy. This changed when a local Wyoming County businessman purchased the property in August of 2023 and established a non-profit organization titled Wyoming County Healthcare Center, Inc.

The Wyoming County Healthcare Center, Inc. is now committed to serving the needs of the surrounding area and carry on the vision that began back in 1945. The center is currently open and supplying multiple health care services including: The Guthrie Clinic, DaVita Kidney Care, Work Well Occupational Services, Susquehanna-Wyoming County Transportation (SWCT), Wyoming County Community Health Foundation, and coming soon The Wright Center. The hallways are ready and waiting to be walked again. We look forward to seeing you here soon.

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