History of Lawrence General

Lawrence, Massachusetts was chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1849. Its location on the Merrimack River provided plentiful hydroelectric power for the textile and other manufacturing industries that, at the peak of the city's development, employed more than 100,000 workers.

As the population grew in the late 19th century, the city and surrounding communities found they lacked the capabilities to provide basic medical care to their residents. In 1875, a group of concerned women who were active in Lawrence's churches and who were the wives of the city's prominent businessmen established a "day nursery" to care for sick children whose working mothers could not take care of them during the day.

Lawrence General is Born

Popular medical service offerings continued to grow, and in 1875, Lawrence General Hospital was officially born. The Lawrence General School of Nursing provided clinical instruction in nursing until 1977, and its 1,500 alumnae have played a vital role in supporting the health of the region. Some of the school's graduates continue to serve as clinicians and hospital administrators today.

Opening the Modern Facility

In 1899, industrialist William A. Russell, founder of the International Paper Company, made a bequest to the society to renovate his Prospect Hill home for a new hospital. Lawrence General opened its modern facility in 1902, cementing its position as an anchor health care provider in the community to this day.

Campus Expansion

In the 100-plus years since, the hospital has grown and developed thanks to the support of individuals, businesses, and community groups. The additions of the Lamprey, Stevens, Hamblet, and Russell buildings between 1940 and 1972, along with many internal renovations in the next three decades, have facilitated new technology and functional capacity, allowing the hospital to continue to offer high quality care to the region.


Lawrence General established formal clinical affiliations with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Tufts Children's Hospital to usher in the next wave of advances and improvements, and to better serve our region. And in the past ten years, improvements at Lawrence General include a 41-bay Emergency Center, an Imaging Center, a top-rated Cardiac Catheterization Lab, a four-suite Sleep Center, and an expanded and fully-renovated Pediatric Center in partnership with Tufts Children's Hospital.


The hospital opened its state-of-the-art Santagati Center for surgery, the most modern surgery center in the region. In addition, the hospital has expanded service beyond the main campus, establishing outpatient services at 25 Marston St. in Lawrence, 70,000 square feet of outpatient medical service space in the Andover Medical Center on Route 133 in Andover, and imaging and laboratory services at Methuen Family Health Center in Methuen. In a unique partnership with the Merrimack Valley YMCA, the hospital has also established primary care and rehabilitation services onsite at the Andover-North Andover YMCA.