Hill-Burton Before and After: Kemper County Hospital

This week’s Hill-Burton hospital, located over in the tiny county seat of DeKalb, had this eye-catching rendering in New Hospitals and Health Departments for Mississippi, which was published by the Mississippi Commission on Hospital Care around 1950. As you may remember, the Hill-Burton Act set up a funding mechanism for states to build public hospitals and health clinics, and by the end of the first five years of the program, Mississippi was a leader in getting these built.

I went in search of the Kemper County Hospital online, since I haven’t been to DeKalb in a while, and I found a brief record in the MDAH Historic Resources Database that didn’t have much text but did give us a map location and some fairly recent pictures (complete with a Christmassy bear theme since they were taken in December). The pictures show the building has had a few changes (or maybe a few items shown in the rendering didn’t get built exactly that way), but overall, this is still a cool modernist building. The raised clerestory or lightwell represented in that higher section of roof near the entrance appears to be covered up, which I suspect came about because it leaked, but it’s still there if someone wanted to let a little light back in.

old Kemper County Hospital, DeKalb, MS. Photo by Jennifer Baughn, MDAH, December 16, 2015. Downloaded from Historic Resources Database

old Kemper County Hospital, DeKalb, MS. Photo by Jennifer Baughn, MDAH, December 16, 2015. Downloaded from Historic Resources Database

Although a newer hospital has been built up the road a ways, the old county hospital still appears to be in use as some sort of medical facility and shares its lot with the local department of human services.


More Hill-Burton and other medical wonders . . .

 



Categories: Architectural Research, Hospitals/Medical, Modernism

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