A Nursing School


1886 — 1950s: 'Home for the Nurses of the Maternity and Charity Hospital Training School'

In 1886 Riverside Hospital closed. The building was stripped of its hospital beds and surgical rooms and was converted to a nursing school called the Home for the Nurses of the Maternity and Charity Hospital Training School. The southern and northern wings of the building were added to provide additional classrooms, dormitories, training wards, and laboratories to the resident nursing students and staff.

Additions to convert the building into a nursing school

Building Additions

A.  The original footprint, labeled "A", measures roughly 100 x 40 feet and was designed by James Renwick, Jr., its construction was 1854-1856. This portion of the building was a hospital until it closed in 1886.

B.  The southern wing, labeled "B", was the first addition to the structure in order to provide more space for the nursing school. It was completed after James Renwick, Jr. passed away by the architecture firm York & Sawyer. Its construction was 1903-1904.

C.  The second, and final addition, labeled "C", was completed by Renwick, Aspinwall & Owen. Its construction was 1904-1905.

Addition of the northern and southern wings were added after the hospital was converted to a nursing school, New York City Municipal Archives

Photograph from The Aims and Activities of the School of Nursing, Roosevelt Island Historical Society

Photograph from The Aims and Activities of the School of Nursing, Roosevelt Island Historical Society

Nurses were encouraged to exercise in the building's main yard. Within the general vicinity of the structure was a tennis court, basketball court, and croquet grounds. Pictured here are nurses engaged in a game of croquet.

Each wing of the new structure was detailed like the central, original bay, though with slightly less ornamentation. The two wings were topped with mansard roofs and dormer windows. For nearly seventy years, the building served as one of New York City’s foremost nursing schools.

A class of nurses in front of the one of the building's oriel windows, New York City Municipal Archives


The Building as a Ruin

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More about James Renwick, Jr.

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