On November 2, 1905, the doors of Fulton County’s first hospital opened for the purpose of “administering medical, surgical and obstetrical aid to the general public.” Known as “The Woodlawn,” it was founded by Dr. Winfield Scott Shafer at 624 Pontiac Street in Rochester. Dr. W.S. Shafer operated the hospital until his death in 1916. The hospital fell into the hands of his son, Dr. Howard Shafer, until his death in 1931. Shortly afterwards, Woodlawn Hospital was sold to Dr. Milton E. Leckrone, head surgeon of the hospital. Under Dr. Leckrone’s direction, a two-story brick addition was completed in 1936, and the bed capacity was increased from 15 to 33.
After the untimely death of Dr. Leckrone in 1945, Fulton County assumed ownership of Woodlawn Hospital. A five member Board of Trustees, appointed by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, serves as the governing body of the hospital.
Ten years later, another expansion of Woodlawn was underway. This addition raised the bed capacity of the hospital from 33 to 66. In 1972, the 1935 portion of Woodlawn Hospital was closed to patients due to fire safety deficiencies and the hospital went to 41 beds. The older part of the hospital was converted to administrative use only. On August 14, 1974, it was announced that the hospital board had decided to build a new hospital on a new site. The new Woodlawn Hospital relocated to “Jones Woods,” a grove of trees on the north side of Indiana 14 and 25, along the east side of the Rochester municipal golf course.
Dedicated in 1978, the present Woodlawn Hospital sits serenely on 33 wooded acres, which can be viewed from every patient room. The hospital’s first floor houses cardiopulmonary and emergency services, in addition to administrative and support services. The second floor houses all private rooms and offers the maximum in personal and professional care to our patients.
In 2023, the Board of Trustees voted to change the brand name of Woodlawn Hospital to Woodlawn Health to encompass the clinics and specialist serving our community.