A Brief History of the Erie County Medical Center

Erie County Medical Center’s roots extend back to The Municipal Hospital, which was built on East Ferry Street in 1905 to serve smallpox patients. By 1912, this facility became over-extended in the face of scarlet fever and later, tuberculosis epidemics, and the new Buffalo City Hospital was built at 462 Grider Street.

Today, ECMC is one of the area’s leading healthcare providers and one of the country’s most modern, functional, and efficient healthcare delivery systems, including:

  • An advanced academic medical center with 602 inpatient beds
  • On- and off-campus primary care and family health centers (Learn more »)
  • More than 30 outpatient specialty care services (Learn more »)
  • Terrace View, a 390-bed long-term care facility (Learn more »)

ECMC is also the regional center for trauma, burn care, behavioral health, transplantation, and medical rehabilitation, and is proud to be the home of a number of Centers of Excellence, including those for transplantation and kidney care, behavioral health and oncology.

ECMC is also major teaching facility for the University at Buffalo, making it a top destination for research and innovation.

Our Timeline

1900–1925

>> 1905

  • Municipal House, predecessor to ECMC, is built to serve smallpox patients.

>> 1912

  • Plans are made to build a new Buffalo City Hospital on ECMC’s current Grider Street site. This new hospital would fulfill community needs to care for the growing surge of tuberculosis patients. The first board of managers is formed, with Dr. Edward J. Meyer (a co-founder of the hospital) as chairman.

>> 1918

  • Buffalo City Hospital opens. When the Erie County Almshouse and Infirmary burns to the ground shortly thereafter, the Hospital is called upon to look after patients with general medical and surgical problems, as well as tuberculosis.
  • As early as 1918, the hospital had become one of the few institutions in the world treating virtually every known type of medical problem. And, mainly through the efforts of Dr. Meyer, the hospital had joined the foremost teaching facilities in the country, providing training for physicians, dentists, nurses, and dietitians.

>> 1921

  • The Buffalo City Hospital opens its first medical library, a facility which has grown and is still in use by patients, guests, nurses, and doctors.

>> 1922

  • The Hospital opens the Social Service Department, an innovation for its time.

>> 1923

  • A building is opened at the Hospital for communicable diseases and named the Wende Building after Dr. Ernest Wende, Health Commissioner and dermatology professor at the University at Buffalo.

1926–1950

>> 1930

  • The Hospital and the University at Buffalo’s School of Nursing form a cooperative agreement.

>> 1932

  • The Medical and Surgical buildings at the Buffalo City Hospital are named after Dr. Edward J. Meyer in honor of his continued efforts to make the Hospital a leading teaching facility.

>> 1939

  • The Buffalo City Hospital is renamed the Edward J. Meyer Memorial Hospital, in honor of Dr. Meyer’s service to the Buffalo City Hospital from 1912 to the 1930s.

1951–1975

>> 1962

  • A proposal for a new hospital building at the Grider Street site is announced.

>> 1964

  • The Meyer Hospital opens one of the country’s first Sterile Supply units.

>> 1970s

  • During the early 1970s, a new hospital building was built and renamed the Erie County Medical Center to signify the wide-ranging role the hospital had taken in the community.

1976–2000

>> 1978

  • The new hospital building is completed and the facility is named the Erie County Medical Center to signify the expanded role it has taken in the community.

>> 1989

  • Due to high standards, ECMC is named Western New York’s designated trauma center, and opens a designated burn treatment center. Erie County Medical Center is also designated the Western New York AIDS center.

>> 1996

  • By referendum, Erie County residents vote to consolidate the Erie County Home and the Erie County Home Care Agency into the ECMC Healthcare Network. The ECMC Healthcare Network opens three new community-based health centers to serve the primary care health needs of the WNY community.

2000–Present

>> 2004

  • The Erie County Medical Center Healthcare Network becomes an autonomous health system as a Public Benefit Corporation and is renamed the Erie County Medical Center Corporation.

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