Our History

FHN is proud to trace its history of caring for the people of northwest Illinois back for more than a century.

1902 FHN started small with the July 1 opening of Globe Hospital, a 40-bed facility on upper Stephenson Street in Freeport.
1904 The School of Nursing followed soon with a class of seven women.
1924 The Deaconess Society of the Evangelical Church purchased the Globe Hospital for $22,500. The hospital's name was changed to Evangelical Deaconess Hospital.
1931 The Evangelical Deaconess Hospital was first accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals.
1933 The hospital became standardized by the College of Surgeons.
1935 The Women's Board of Deaconess Hospital was organized by Mrs. F. W. McNess.
1934 The School of Nursing closed due to financial conditions, but reopened in 1936 with a class of 14. Tuition for three years was $20.00.
1938 A new not-for-profit corporation was formed under the name Deaconess Hospital.
1943 A fundraising campaign initiated and chaired by Mr. L.C. Ferguson raised $208,000 in just seven weeks and two days. The money was used to pay off the hospital's debt and start a fund for future expansion.
1947 The Gift Shop opened on April 12. Proceeds went to support the School of Nursing.
1950 A campaign to raise $385,000 to finance an urgently needed expansion and modernization program was a success; construction of the hospital's west wing began in May.

The Women's Board received membership in the American Hospital Association.
1951 The hospital hired its first pharmacist – part-time.
1952 The new west wing was dedicated on January 19. It added 88 beds, bringing the hospital's total patient capacity to 125.

The nursing school was inspected for National Accreditation.
1957 The hospital hired its first full-time radiologist.

Food service was centralized: Meal trays were prepared in one kitchen and distributed to the floors via heated and refrigerated carts.
1956 Ray Wine was named administrator of the hospital.
1957 High occupancy led to plans for expansion; a survey was conducted to determine the feasibility of raising $1.6 million to construct a new nurses' home, remodeling the ground floor of the south wing, demolition of the Globe building, construction of a new addition extending to the north toward Stephenson Street and remodeling of existing facilities.
1959 The campaign raised $919,640 and on May 23 construction began on the new nurses' dormitory. The nurses moved in August 16.
1960 The Globe building was demolished on June 29 and a north wing was added. At the August meeting of the Board of Directors, a resolution was made to change the name of Deaconess Hospital to Freeport Memorial Hospital.
1961 Air conditioning was added to the north wing of the hospital, and the hospital laboratory was approved as a teaching lab and a school of medical technology was established.
1964 A Magna Scanner was purchased for the X-Ray Department.
1965 The third and fourth floors were added to the north wing and a fifth floor was added to the west wing of the hospital.
1967 The hospital's Intensive Care Unit opened.
1972 A volunteer chaplaincy program was organized.
1974 Ground was broken for a five-story east wing addition on May 28.
1979 The last class of nurses graduated from the Nursing School on May 25. In its 75-year history, the School of Nursing graduated 765 nurses.
1981 The Day Surgery unit opened for one day each week.

In July, a new policy went into effect prohibiting smoking in patient rooms.
1982 A gift from the Kiwanis Club enabled the construction of a heliport on hospital property.

The computer age dawned on January 20, with the first hospital patient admitted using direct data entry into the computer system.

Day surgery was expanded to three days a week.
1985 Day surgery was expanded to five days per week.
1984 New surgery, recovery and ICU units were opened.

The Freeport Regional Healthcare Foundation was formed with Freeport Memorial Hospital as a subsidiary of the Foundation.
1985 A new birthing center was opened, and the Skilled Nursing Unit opened and received approval from Medicare.

The hospital also purchased a full-body CT scanner at a cost of $525,000 to replace mobile services.
1986 Ray Wine retired as CEO, having served 30 years in that position. Dennis L. Hamilton was appointed president and CEO of the hospital.

The hospital opened its mammography suite and began to offer home care services.
1987 Lithotripsy (to disintegrate kidney stones) became available at the hospital through the use of mobile equipment.
1988 The pediatric unit and the Cataract Center were opened.
1990 The Heart of Memorial Trust was established.

Mobile MRI services began to be offered at the hospital.
1994 The hospital began using the services of a mobile cardiac catheterization van.
1995 An open house on Jan. 22 celebrated the opening of an expansion to the hospital, including the atrium entrance, expanded emergency and outpatient services area.

On Feb. 1, the organization became Freeport Health Network.

The Leonard C. Ferguson Cancer Center was dedicated in May as an affiliate of the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center.
1996 The organization celebrated the opening of FHN HealthWorks occupational health facility in Freeport.
1997 FHN celebrated a $2.2 million renovation of the hospital's FHN Family Birthing Center.
1998 Everyone involved in the organization was honored to earn a Level II Award for Business Excellence from the Lincoln Foundation.
1999 The organization welcomed dentists into the fold with the opening of Family Dental Care in Freeport.
2000 The network received another honor when Working Mother magazine named it one of the nation's 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers.

Mental health care organization Jane Addams Family Counseling Center and the Complementary Medicine office were added to the network.
2001 The network acquired Lena Nursing Home and Doll Memorial Apartments for independent seniors.

A permanent MRI unit was opened at the hospital.
2003 The network changed its name to FHN to more accurately reflect its dedication to caring for the health of families across northwest Illinois, not just in Freeport.
2004 FHN unveiled its new IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) system at the FHN Leonard C. Ferguson Cancer Center. The machine was the first of its kind in the area.

The FHN Judy and Virgil Bocker Cardiovascular Center opened inside FHN Memorial Hospital. The all-digital lab was equipped for heart catheterizations, angiograms, abdominal studies, peripheral studies and carotid angiograms, as well as pacemaker placement.
2005 After 19 years as FHN President and CEO, Dennis L. Hamilton retired. Michael R. Perry, MD, was appointed to the position.
2006 FHN teamed with the Stephenson County Health Department to create the FHN Community Healthcare Center at 10 W. Linden Street in Freeport. The Center's mission is to provide care for the uninsured, underinsured and medically indigent in the community.

The FHN Family Counseling Center opened at 421 W. Exchange Street in Freeport.

Fresh Inspirations Café opened at FHN Memorial Hospital.
2007 The FHN Foundation moved to new offices at 421 W. Exchange Street in Freeport.
2009 FHN Memorial Hospital was named one of the nation's 100 Top Hospitals® by Thomson Healthcare.

FHN FastCare® opened, offering no-appointment convenient care for minor injuries and illnesses inside the Freeport Shopko.

2009 began with the opening of the FHN Family Healthcare Center – Burchard Hills in Freeport. The building housed the orthopaedics and sports medicine and occupational health departments as well as family practice, internal medicine and pediatrics providers.

FHN cardiologists reached out to patients in the eastern end of our service area with weekly office hours at FHN Family Healthcare Center – Pecatonica.
2010 FHN Memorial Hospital opened its eICU® program in August, linking ICU patients in Freeport with the UW Health e-Care of Wisconsin's team of intensivist physicians and critical care nurses through small, powerful cameras and microphones in each ICU patient room.

Work began on a major expansion of the FHN Leonard C. Ferguson Cancer Center with the April installation of new radiotherapy equipment, bringing more precise cancer treatment to the region.

FHN cardiologists reached out to patients in the western end of our service area with weekly office hours at FHN Family Healthcare Center - Lena.
2011 The new FHN Family Healthcare Center - Stockton opened in March, bringing FHN’s three local providers into one office.

In May, the Center for Wound Healing at FHN Memorial Hospital opened, with two hyperbaric chambers to help heal patients suffering from chronic wounds.

Construction began in October for a new oncology wing at the FHN Leonard C. Ferguson Cancer Center in Freeport.
2012 The Women's Diagnostic Center at FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport debuted Walk-In Wednesdays no-appointment mammogram screenings. This popular program was expanded to include Thursdays in 2013.

FHN Memorial Hospital first received recognition from Consumer Reports as one of the top three hospitals in Illinois for patient safety. The hospital was similarly recognized in 2013 and 2014, and its surgery program also received high scores.
2013 FHN Memorial Hospital became the first healthcare entity in the area to utilize a portable room disinfection robot that uses ultraviolet light to quickly destroy viruses, bacteria, and bacterial spores.

Therapeutic hypothermia was added to the FHN Emergency Department, helping to reduce brain injuries resulting from cardiac arrest, which is the most common cause of death after cardiac arrest.

Beyond Words, FHN's pet therapy program was launched (visits began in 2014), warming patients' hearts with cold noses!

Miles And Minutes, FHN's free community summer exercise competition, debuted. This popular program rewards area schools for the time their fans log over the summer.
2014 FHN received a Bronze Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association in recognition of its stroke management program. The Stroke Team also launched a teleneurology program in the Emergency Department that provides state-of-the-art care for neurological emergencies 24/7.

FHN partnered with multiple private and public entities to open the Community Garden behind FHN Family Healthcare Center – Burchard Hills in Freeport.
2015 Northern Illinois Physical Therapy in Freeport joined FHN's Rehabilitation Services department to benefit physical and occupational therapy patients in the area.
2016 FHN received a Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, an indicator of the Stroke Team's continued progress and achievement in stroke care.

FHN received an A in patient safety from the Leapfrog Group for patient safety through its Hospital Safety Score(SM), the grades assigned to U.S. hospitals based on preventable medical errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

After 10 years as FHN President and CEO, Michael Perry, MD retired from his position. He remains a Family Practice physician at the FHN Community Healthcare Center in Freeport.
2017 On Jan. 1, Mark Gridley, MBA, FACHE took the helm of FHN as President and CEO.

FHN received a Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

FHN Memorial Hospital installed a SPECT.CT machine, a combined CT scanner and nuclear Gamma camera, to enhance the hospital's diagnostic capabilities and make one-day heart nuclear stress tests possible.

The FHN Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine team became the only providers in the area to offer the highly personalized TruMatch knee replacement system. Special leg scans allow for an exact fit, which increases positive results.

In the fall, FHN debuted Drive-Through Flu Shot Clinics at its Burchard Hills location in Freeport.
2018 The FHN/Physicians Immediate Care Urgent Care Clinic opened its doors in May, offering convenient, no-appointment treatment for illnesses and injuries, along with Occupational Health services.

FHN received a Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
2019 FHN received a Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
2020 One of the first of its type in the area, the FHN Acute Respiratory Clinic (ARC) opened its doors for patients with acute respiratory symptoms such as those resulting from influenza, COVID-19, or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

FHN received a Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
2021 The Dr. Ravi and Mrs. Minu Vyas Crisis Stabilization Center (CSC) at FHN Family Counseling Center, a home-like emergency care center for adults experiencing a behavioral health crisis, opened in January.

The FHN Jo Daviess Family Healthcare Center, a new state-of-the-art facility offering expanded patient care space as well as access to services such as onsite digital imaging, educational programs, and access to select specialties in the future, opened in June.