From 1896 to 1978, one organization in the city offered prenatal and birthing services for low-income, unwed and “unsuitable” pregnant women. This is a history of the Omaha Salvation Army Women’s Hospital.
Starting in 1896, the The Salvation Army ran the Rescue Home and Maternity Hospital in North Omaha. Originally located at 3704 N 24th Street from 1896 to 1920, the hospital supported young women and women without support from pregnancy through birth. The children born there were often placed for adoption.
In 1920, the Omaha Salvation Army opened the Rescue Home and Maternity Hospital in the old Governor Saunders Mansion at 2008 North 16th Street, and stayed there until 1938. Expanding the mansion repeatedly, there were eventually more than 60 rooms there. In 1921, the facility was described as “a home for girls who are incorrigible.” They got religious training and “are encouraged to start life over in a new manner.”
An Entire Hospital
It was renamed for Catherine Booth in 1938 and moved to 2404 Pratt Street at the location of the former Evangelical Covenant Hospital. The Booth Hospital was also called the Salvation Army Home for Unwed Mothers. The facility was rebuilt in the late 1940s.
“Write or telephone, asking for an interview. Policies and programs are flexible to meet individual needs. All factors are discussed confidentially with the applicant and arrangements made to give the girl and her baby the specific help that their situation requires. This service is available on the basis of need, regardless of creed, color, class or circumstances. The spiritual purpose is paramount. We are concerned with the whole person – not only the physical need but the mental, emotional, social and spiritual needs as well.”–1964 newspaper ad for the Booth Hospital
In 1967, the hospital was moved to South 40th and Dewey Streets. That building was closed in 1978, and sold to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1990.
Today the Salvation Army North Corps Community Center operates a new facility at the corner of North 24th and Pratt Streets.
From 1896 to 1978, the Salvation Army Booth Memorial Hospital had four incarnations, three of them in North Omaha.
First Location: Salvation Army Home for Unwed Mothers, aka North Side Rescue Home
- Location: 3824 N 24th Street
- Opened: 1896
- Closed: 1920
Second Location: Salvation Army Rescue Home and Maternity Hospital
- 2008 North 16th Street
- Opened: 1920
- Closed: 1938
Third Location: Women’s Home and Hospital, aka Catherine Booth Memorial Hospital
- Location: 2404 Pratt Street
- Opened: 1938
- Closed: 1966
Fourth Location: Booth Memorial Hospital
- Location: 426 South 40th Street
- Opened: 1966
- Closed: 1978
You Might Like…
- A History of Hospitals and Healthcare in North Omaha
- A History of North 24th Street
- A History of the McCreary Mansion in North Omaha