One of the many Mississippi projects under consideration for Public Works Administration funding in 1935 was the Magee General Hospital. The state PWA office announced approvals for a number of new projects, and many more were proposed, but never funded. Mississippi filed an application in July 1935 for $15,839 for a hospital (“PWA announces change in handling projects, first job is approved,” Clarion-Ledger, Aug. 12, 1935, p. 10). Application for the Magee Hospital was again listed on February 8, 1939, as project W1022 (Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, Projects and Statistics Division, p. 62), but the 1940 completed projects list does not include the hospital, indicating the project was not approved. Nonetheless, the history of the Magee General Hospital in the early years was an interesting dig through the archives.
Dr. Wright D. Diamond had practiced in Florida and Jackson, MS before moving to Magee in 1932. He was associated with Charity Hospital in Jackson prior to moving to Magee.
The Magee General Hospital is scheduled to be officially opened for use by June 15th, and work of the building secured for hospital purpose is being rushed. Dr. W. W. Diamond, who has been connected with the State Hospital at Jackson, will have charge of the hospital. (“Magee General Hospital.” June 9, 1932, Simpson County News)
The home of Mrs. Annie Thames, near the business section of Magee, was remodeled by “Mr. White, leading contractor of Magee” to serve as the “new and thoroughly equipped hospital” (Simpson County News, June 30, 1932). Mr. White was Lacy D. White, who was identified as having built the Magee Hospital, Magee Community House, Mt. Olive First Baptist Church, and Sanatorium Theater in a 2017 item from the online Simpson County News/Magee Courier. The 1932 news item supports the attribution of the hospital to White, even if “remodeling” was a more appropriate term. Mrs. Thames owned lots 7 and 8, Blk 66 in the original survey for Town of Magee, and in 1931, those lots were sold for delinquent taxes in the amount of $45.35 (Simpson County News, Oct. 1, 1931). The building converted to the hospital was formerly a boarding house remodeled for the purpose and leased to the town for 3 years (Simpson County News, Aug. 4, 1932).
The Mississippi Maternity Center Association launched a program to establish County Maternity Associations to conduct a prenatal clinic and provide hospitalization for indigent mothers, in an effort to reduce the maternal mortality rate in Mississippi. The Simpson County Board of Supervisors donated $500.00 of the R. F. C. funds (Reconstruction Finance Corporation?) for the maintenance of a Maternity ward in the Magee Hospital.
In 1935, Dr. Diamond and three others filed a charter of incorporation to operate the Magee General Hospital, each having 25 shares of a total of 100 for $50 per share. The new hospital was completed and formally opened in 1937. Dr. Diamond suffered a heart attack and died at the Magee General Hospital Sept. 16, 1943. He was 64.