When the S.C. Baptist Convention decided in 1911 to take on health care as a mission, it pledged to do it right.
The convention spent $200,000 on downtown Columbia property, first buying a tract once used by the Colonia Hotel, then scooping up a burgeoning hospital when its owner died unexpectedly. The former Knowlton Infirmary was christened Baptist Hospital Sept. 1, 1914.
The convention touted its initial investment as evidence of the scale its hospital enterprise would take, according to The State newspaper account that day. “It is the purpose of the denomination to build up the greatest hospital in the state,” said the Rev. Louis J. Bristow, president of the board of trustees.
A century later, Baptist Hospital is Palmetto Health Baptist and it remains an important component of health care in the state.
The history of Baptist
Important years in the development of what is now called Palmetto Health Baptist.
The convention ended up buying Knowlton’s 60-bed hospital and nursing school from his widow, allowing a quicker start to their medical mission a few blocks away from the property they originally planned for their hospital. The Knowlton hospital officially became Baptist Hospital Sept. 1, 1914.