The Henrietta Egleston Memorial Hospital for Children formally opened Oct. 16, 1928. However, plans for the hospital had been in the works for many years. In 1916, Thomas R. Egleston Jr., a prominent insurance agent, died, leaving $100,000 in his will to buy land and construct a children’s hospital. He wished for the hospital to be built in honor of his mother, Henrietta Egleston, who passed away in 1912 and who had tragically lost four of her five young children to childhood diseases.
A number of factors delayed the construction of the original hospital building. With World War I and inflation cited as major concerns, the appointed trustees of the hospital decided to invest Thomas Egleston’s financial contribution and wait for a better time to begin construction. In 1919, the Calvin W. Hunnicutt house on Spring Street NW, opposite what is today called Baltimore Place, was purchased for the hospital. However, the property was sold in 1923 because increasing traffic had made the location too loud for the recuperating patients needing rest.
Finally, in 1926, another property was purchased – a 15-acre patch of land located on what was then Forrest Road and Fortune Street, which is now the intersection of Ralph McGill Boulevard and Wabash Avenue. Within two years, Henrietta Egleston Memorial Hospital for Children opened with 50 beds. An agreement of operation was signed Sept. 21, 1956 between Egleston and Emory University. Emory agreed to provide a five-acre plot of land on its campus at the corner of Uppergate Drive and Clifton Road for the construction of a new Egleston hospital. Construction began in early 1957 and the new facility opened April 20, 1959, with a 100-bed capacity.
This hospital saw further expansions through the years, including the opening of the George and Irene Woodruff Pavilion Oct. 14, 1981 and the addition of 70 beds in 1993. The 1990s saw major growth with the Center for Child Advocacy in 1992, the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in 1995 and the Sibley Heart Center in 1997. In 1998, Egleston merged with the Scottish Rite Medical Center to form Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Egleston expanded its facilities again in 2004.