Phelps Hospital honors a founding family at lobby opening

By John Golden

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Shown in front of newly displayed plaques that date to the founding of Phelps Hospital are, from left, Daniel Blum, Phelps president and CEO; philanthropist David Rockefeller, and Richard Sinni, Phelps board chairman. Shown in front of newly displayed plaques that date to the founding of Phelps Hospital are, from left, Daniel Blum, Phelps president and CEO; philanthropist David Rockefeller, and Richard Sinni, Phelps board chairman.

Phelps Hospital officials, staff and guests celebrated the official opening of the community hospital’s new main entrance and renovated lobby in Sleepy Hollow at a Monday ceremony attended by a member of the 60-year-old institution’s founding family.

Visitors entered the new $4.5-million lobby beneath signage displaying the hospital’s change of name from Phelps Memorial Hospital Center and the logo of Northwell Health, formerly North Shore-LIJ Health System, which Phelps joined 18 months ago.

Philanthropist David Rockefeller was the hospital’s special guest at the ceremony. His great-uncle William Rockefeller 125 years ago funded the opening of a predecessor of Phelps, a single-room, three-bed facility known as Tarrytown Hospital. His Rockefeller grandparents in 1906 were the first major financial supporters of local health care, and his father, John D. Rockefeller Jr., was active in the operations of Tarrytown Hospital and another small hospital that opened in Ossining around 1907.

Responding to an increased demand for hospital services in Westchester, David Rockefeller’s brother, John D. III, in 1949 led an initiative to build a larger and more centrally located community hospital in what is now Sleepy Hollow. His family donated $1,225,000 as a grant to be matched by the community, and Phelps Memorial Hospital opened in 1956.

“The Rockefellers have been very important partners of Phelps,” Richard Sinni, chairman of the Phelps board of directors, said at the ceremony. “Without their contributions, this hospital would not exist.”

The 238-bed community hospital has 1,700 employees and 500 medical staff members representing 60 medical specialties, according to a Phelps spokesperson.

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About the author

John Golden
The Business Journal’s senior writer, John Golden directs news coverage of the county and Hudson Valley region as Westchester bureau chief. He was an award-winning upstate columnist and feature writer before joining the Business Journal in 2007. He is the author of “Northern Drift: Sketches on the New York Frontier,” a collection of his regional journalism.

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