A 99th-birthday bash tomorrow in downtown Annapolis will mark the end of an era and the beginning of a new direction for Anne Arundel Medical Center.
The party planned by the hospital on its city campus will be one of its last public events before moving just outside Annapolis to Parole in October.
The hospital is expecting more than 1,000 people, including staff members, former patients and supporters to help celebrate nearly a century of providing medical care and the completion of the new hospital.
In October, the downtown hospital will close its last units and all medical services will be moved to the 250,000-square-foot, six-floor acute-care pavilion on the Medical Park campus. The $70 million building includes 221 private rooms, an 18-bed critical-care unit, 10 surgical suites and an emergency department.
The downtown hospital, which was organized by Annapolis townswomen in 1902, began as a small cottage at Franklin and Cathedral streets that treated farmers and workmen.
Laurence Hartge, 84, of Annapolis recalls the original hospital from the three months he spent there in 1923.
"It was a small, wooden hospital with just a few patients," he said.
Hartge, whose leg was shattered when he was 6, was taken to the tiny hospital from his home in Galesville.
"My first vivid memories really begin from the day I was brought to the hospital," he said. "It was my first time out of Galesville."
When he arrived at the hospital, the boy faced a 50-50 chance of being permanently crippled, he said. But he recovered completely because of "the wonderful job the hospital staff did with me."
Hartge will attend today's party. Also celebrating will be Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens, Annapolis Mayor Dean L. Johnson and hospital President Chip Doordan.
The festivities are scheduled for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will include entertainment by Dr. Rick Hochman's Dynamic Dixieland Band. Hochman is a retired doctor who worked at the hospital for 40 years.
Ted Levitt, owner of Chick `n Ruth's Deli downtown, will perform magic tricks, and Marion O. Warren, who has been ranked among the top five photographers in Maryland, will take a group picture. Also featured will be a petting zoo and a giant birthday cake made up of more than 1,600 cupcakes. Hospital officials encouraged the public to attend.