About Us

History of Major Health Partners

This story actually begins in 1878 when Alfred Major married Helen Thompson, his second wife. Ten years later in 1888, they decided to build a new home which was to be identical to Helen’s childhood home in Sewickley, PA. Alfred died of typhoid fever in March 1889 while the mansion was under construction. Helen never lived in the replica of her childhood home. Alfred’s son, William, had the home completed. He and his wife, the former Frances Cory, moved in the house in 1890 and lived there the remaining years of their lives. The home was one of the most elaborate ever built in Shelbyville.

1910 - 1940:

William S. Major died in August of 1915. His will specified that after the death of his wife, their home be given to the City of Shelbyville for a long needed hospital. The original home stood on the ground that is currently the hospital parking lot. In 1916, when a public memorial service was held for her husband, Mrs. Major made a tentative offer to turn the house over to the city as soon as it was ready to build the hospital.

Mrs. Major wanted to see the hospital as a memorial to her husband while she was still living. The city council accepted the offer to deed the property to the City of Shelbyville in November 1921. The will of William S. Major provided that the city must accept the gift within a year after Mrs. Major’s death and that, once the hospital had been opened, it must be maintained continuously. Under the agreement made, the city was to take over her home and carry out the terms of the will. Mrs. Major was to have the large room to the left of the entrance. She had been an invalid, suffering from crippling arthritis since at least 1910.

On October 20, 1922, Mrs. Major deeded her property to the City of Shelbyville. The deed was not recorded until December 31 at her request, because she wanted it recorded on the anniversary of her marriage to Mr. Major. Also in December 1922, the council selected the name of William S. Major Hospital as most fitting for the institution and received bids for the building.

A simple yet impressive ground breaking ceremony was observed at two in the afternoon of Wednesday, June 6, 1923, as the cornerstone of the building was laid. Mrs. Major, Mayor Lee Hoop, area doctors and the members of the city’s official family were present for this ceremony. While construction took place, Mrs. Major watched with interest from her room. Even though confined to her bed, she was constantly aware of the remodeling of her home and the construction of the adjoining wing. She lived in the hospital until her death on Christmas Day, 1929. The hospital was completed in April 1924.

During the depths of the Depression, Major Hospital blocked off a part of the building to save fuel and by using the interest from the endowment fund, the hospital survived the Depression and World War II.

In the summer of 1946 it was decided to expand the maternity ward. Early in 1947, new nursery quarters were completed with the financial help of Delta Theta Tau Sorority. This involved a glass partition, new paint and a new location. A bill to extend the patient base to include the county was placed before the Indiana General Assembly in 1947. A recognized need to expand the hospital to take care of the entire county was the reason for the bill. The bill introduced provided a Board of Directors of 5 members. The Mayor appointed three of the members, the County Commissioners appointed one and the Circuit Court Judge appointed one. The bill gave the city the power to build an addition, issue bonds, and received donations and gifts.

1950 - 1960:

In April of 1956, Mrs. Frances Pruitt hospital superintendent, emphasized the need for expansion. The hospital had 53 patients on one day in April; the normal capacity was 47. During discussion of expanding the hospital, differences of opinion surfaced as to whether the hospital should be in the present location or on the fringe area of the city, and whether the present building should be remodeled or an entirely new building should be constructed. The final decision was to add two wings and kitchen facilities to the hospital. July 1958, work began to add two new wings to the hospital. The wings were completed in the summer of 1960, and dedicated on October 29, 1960.

In January 1960, Richard Gerard was named as the new administrator. Mr. Gerard was from Toledo, Ohio and had special training and experience in hospital administration. Frances Pruitt was appointed as Director of Nurses. The Board gave high praise for her 14 years of excellent and dedicated service, the longest of any superintendent. Over the years, dedication and personal concern for patients characterized the Major Hospital Staff. In addition to Mrs. Pruitt, a long line of nursing supervisors in surgery exemplified this tradition. Lois “Barney” Bryer was the surgery supervisor from 1969 until shortly before her death in 1977. In 1978, the hospital established a “Barney Award”, given in memory of Mrs. Bryer, to honor its outstanding employee of the year. A new administrator was appointed in November 1960. Roland E. “Bud” Kohr assumed his responsibilities on January 1, 1961. Mr. Kohr had a Master’s in Hospital Administration from Northwestern University and had recently completed training at Bethesda Hospital in Cincinnati.

In 1961, the Major Hospital Foundation was formed for the purpose of receiving gifts, trusts, estates and memorials to be used for the benefit of Major Hospital. The Foundation board consisted of 15 members and was responsible for the investment and use of funds, which were not already established in endowments or trusts.

A new physical therapy department was established in 1963, in memory of former board president, Earl F. Hammond. In 1969, the hospital established an intensive care unit. It was set up with high intensity treatment lamps, heart monitoring equipment and a heart-lung resuscitator. The Indiana Legislature also passed an Act in 1969, which increased the membership of the hospital board to seven.

Within 5 years of the completion of the two new wings, discussion was underway concerning the need for further expansion and a possible change of location. Heavily debated through 1976, a decision was finally reached to build a new hospital on the original site. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on December 2, 1978. The new structure was built behind the current hospital, over West Franklin Street. The west wing of the 1960 structure was retained and renovated. The remaining portions of the hospital were razed. Because of historical concerns, the hospital board of directors made plans to preserve elements of the Major home in the new facility. Included were: stained glass windows and staircase railings in the new chapel and limestone facing pieces in the landscaping plans for the modern structure. The new building was completed and ready for occupancy in March 1981.

1980 - 1990:

In May 1981, the Major home was torn down along with the 1924 structure and the 1960 East Wing. This event, involving the final stages of construction of the new Major Hospital, was a point of curiosity for the local citizenry and the hospital staff. People wanted to see what the new structure looked like. At the same time, many sadly observed the passage of the Major Home. It was the end of an era. It was however, the beginning of a new era. The community now had the type of modern facility needed to serve the health needs of the people of Shelby County in future years.

In August of 1997, the hospital opened its newly remodeled medical office building, the Rampart Professional Center. This facility provides over 45,000 square feet of space and currently houses 19 physicians, HealthWorks, Major’s occupational health clinic, and onsite lab and radiology services.

The Center for Women’s Health at Major Hospital opened in the spring of 1998. This remodeling project created a unique center that encompasses obstetrics, gynecology, women’s imaging (ultrasound and mammography), and a health resources library and classroom space. This comprehensive approach to women’s health is unmatched in Central Indiana.

In the fall of 1998 Major Hospital renamed its Imaging Department, the Inlow Imaging Center, in honor and respect for Herbert and Paul Inlow, with over 70 combined years of dedicated service to the medical imaging needs of the Shelby County Community. Father and son physicians, Doctors Herbert and Paul Inlow, were the founding physicians who developed state of the art diagnostic imaging at Major Hospital. Today Major Hospital has continued to advance in offering state of the art imaging services.

2000 - 2010:

In spring of 2000 Major Hospital remodeled and expanded areas of the Medical/Surgical Inpatient Unit, ICU and Pediatrics. A new care model was adopted that added state-of-the-art, family oriented, Intensive Care beds, a Progressive Care Unit and new Pediatrics Unit.

In 2001 Major Hospital opened services in the Junction Plaza Mall located on East State Road 44. Junction Plaza currently houses Major Hospital’s Patient Accounts Department, MD Solutions - Major’s physician practice management group, SportWorks - Major’s outpatient physical therapy clinic, and in 2005 Major Hospital opened The Sleep Center of Major Hospital.

In summer of 2003 Major Hospital launched another expansion of its downtown Shelbyville campus by adding a new surgery procedure room, eight surgery day rooms, four ER exam rooms and a new Ambulance Canopy and entrance.

In the winter of 2003 Major Hospital broke ground on a new campus in the Intelliplex Development. Major Hospital, in partnership with the City of Shelbyville and Shelby County, launched Intelliplex as a technology park focused on future economic development. This 135-acre development includes a 35-acre medical campus, which will provide for Major Hospital’s future growth and expansion.

Major’s first facility on this new site is the Benesse Oncology Center and Intelliplex Medical Arts Building. This 46,300 square foot combined facility houses a Cancer Care center that provides Medical Oncology, Radiation Therapy, and other complementary care services such as massage therapy, healing gardens and a boutique. The center is equipped with a state-of-the-art CT Simulator and Linear Accelerator capable of providing the most advanced forms of radiation therapy. A separate entry and lobby for access to 14,000 square feet of medical office space, a digital imaging suite, and video conference room.

In the fall of 2005, The Sleep Center of Major Hospital opened at 1622 East State Road 44 in the Junction Plaza. The center features state of the art sleep diagnostic technology services with a comfortable, home-like environment.

In 2006, The Bariatric Center of Major Hospital opened its new, highly advanced facilities in the medical specialties wing of the hospital. The center caters to the special needs of Bariatric surgery patients with the latest technology and personal care.

In 2007 two new additions opened at the Intelliplex Campus. The Stephenson Building and Conference Center opened in January 2007. The building houses the Internal Medicine Associates practice in one of the second-floor wings, and the Law Firm of McNeely, Stephenson, Thopy and Harrold on the first floor. The Conference Center will allow for large group conferences to be held just off-site of the Benesse Oncology Center. The second addition opened in early 2007 was Makuta Technics, a technology company moving from Columbus, Indiana to the Intelliplex Campus.

In the fall of 2008 ground was broken for the new ReNovo Orthopaedics Center. This center features the combination of state of the art facilities and technologies to accommodate the many needs of musculoskeletal patients. The unique facility houses: MHP Sports Medicine, orthopedics related primary care practice; MHP SportWorks, our physical and occupational rehabilitation therapy center and FORCE-Family Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation Center an orthopedic surgical practice. The ReNovo Center opened in the summer of 2009. Also, in 2008 the new Major Health Partners branding campaign was launched. This introduced to the public the concept that the services provided by the MHP Major Hospital family of caregivers extends far beyond the walls of Major Hospital and is, in fact, a partnership of the varied healthcare services we offer across our entire enterprise.