|Catherine Lenox, a nurse, converted her residence at 128 S. Mount Vernon Street into a maternity home after Prescott's only hospital, the Sisters of Mercy Hospital, burned down in 1940. She created a nursery, delivery room and eight rooms for patients, whose babies were delivered by physicians. She
provided this service until a "new" hospital was created in 1943 in the
remodeled Jefferson School building.
Region: North Central Arizona
Theme: Women in Science, Medicine and Health
|In 1940 Prescott was a small town with a population of approximately 6,000.
Meeting the town's health needs offered a challenge there, as in other small
towns in Arizona. Maternity homes filled a need for women who struggled to find
adequate care during childbirth. Ranch women from the surrounding area often
would move to town during the last month of their pregnancies and stay with
friends to be able to guarantee experienced assistance during childbirth. Like
other maternity homes in the state, such as the Stork's Nest in Tucson and Dana
Maternity Home in Mesa, the Lenox Maternity Home provided an important service
to new mothers.
Women were confined to bed-rest for seven to 10 days following delivery during
the 1940s. They took their meals in their rooms. Doctors visited regularly,
checking on the new mothers and their infants. Women also enjoyed visits from
friends and relatives who brought flowers and candy following delivery. The
maternity home was described as "homelike". For example, rooms were equipped
with rocking chairs. However, during their confinement the new mothers saw their
babies only at feeding times.
Catherine Lenox provided tasty meals to her patients. She was an efficient and
compassionate woman who was also the mother of a boy and girl. She cared for Dr.
Florence Yount, who is also profiled on the Arizona Women's Heritage Trail. Dr.
Yount bore her son, John, at the Lenox Maternity Home in 1940 and later went on
to organize a new hospital, Prescott Community Hospital, which opened in 1943, at
which time, the Lenox Maternity Home closed. In 1964 the Yavapai Community
Hospital opened with 73 regular beds, 32 beds in extended care, 10 in obstetrics
and 16 newborn cribs. In 2010, there were 960 deliveries at its successor,
Prescott's Yavapai Regional Medical Center. Mother and child leave the hospital
a day or two after birth.
What was once the Lenox Maternity Home is now a private residence.