NORWAY – Feb. 4 marked the official 50-year anniversary of Stephens Memorial Hospital. The medical staff has evolved from eight physicians in 1957 to 38 physicians on the active staff offering services in many specialties to patients.

Planning initially began for Stephens Memorial Hospital in the 1940s. The hospital was named for Charles Asbury Stephens, a local author and medical doctor, although Dr. Stephens never actually practiced medicine.

Located in the former Foster House with an attached brick wing, the hospital opened in 1957 with 25 beds. A new wing was constructed in 1967, bringing the total number of patient beds to 41.

The special care unit, consisting of four beds, was created in 1971 through a renovation of rooms on the medical surgical unit. Two new wings were unveiled in 1977, increasing the total number of beds to 50, and the original Foster house was torn down.

The 1970s and 1980s brought 24-hour, in-house emergency physician coverage in the emergency department and the acquisition of nuclear medicine and ultrasound technology to the imaging department.

Russell’s Ambulance Service was purchased in 1990, and PACE Paramedic Service was established as a department of the hospital, offering the first 24/7 paramedic coverage to the community.

The latest hospital renovation, which enlarged the emergency room, added endoscopy and MRI suites and centralized the women’s imaging center, was completed in 2004. Most recently, a 64-slice CT scanner and a picture archival communications system were acquired for the imaging department.

Gov. John Baldacci and the Legislature were among the first to congratulate the hospital on its 50th anniversary. There will be celebrations throughout the year to commemorate the milestone.

Stephens Memorial Hospital is an affiliate of Western Maine Health, which is part of the Maine Health family. Visit Western Maine Health on the Internet at

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