Building a Medical Center:

The Construction of the 1955 Medical College Hospital

Roper Hospital

In 1845, philanthropist Thomas Roper's bequest of $30,000 for the first community hospital in Charleston was transferred to the Medical Society of South Carolina (hereafter the Medical Society). It was Roper’s wish that the hospital be “for the permanent reception or occasional relief of all such sick, maimed and diseased paupers as need surgical or medical aid... without regard to complexion, religion or nation.” The Medical Society established a group of trustees of the Roper Fund, which oversaw the erection of the hospital. The location of the new hospital was on Queen and Mazyck Streets, which was directly adjacent to the Medical College. To increase the size of the hospital, the Roper Trustees asked the Medical College to cede a small portion of its campus. In exchange, the Roper Trustees agreed that the Medical College would use the hospital to admit surgical cases for the education of their students and would permit medical students to attend any clinical lectures given by hospital physicians. The Roper Hospital admitted its first regular patients on February 12, 1856. Thus began a nearly century-long relationship in which Medical College faculty used Roper Hospital as a teaching hospital.