Lost Hospital — Riverside Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida

Riverside Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida once consisted of a 240,000 square-foot acute care hospital with 183 beds and a staff of more than 400.

Today at the site of the former hospital stands a Publix Super Market and Starbucks. This 90-year transformation from wellness to wifi mirrors in many ways the transformation of health care in the United States.

Dr. Carey P. Rogers opened Riverside Hospital in 1911 (known as Rogers Hospital at the time) on Riverside Avenue between Goodwin and Margaret Streets.  By 1918, the Hospital had the first and only multi-purpose specialty medical clinic in Florida.

Over the years, Riverside Hospital catered to its community, keeping up with the changes that came with each decade. By 1968 Riverside Hospital completed a six-story patient tower, and a decade later prepared for further expansion (and at the same time angering community preservationists by razing the original George Clark residence).

By 1982, the original hospital was demolished to make room for an ancillary wing. These structural changes eventually led to a change in ownership when St. Vincent’s Health System bought Riverside Hospital in 1991.  Four years later, St. Vincent’s Health System merged with Baptist Health System, becoming at the time the area’s largest health care provider.

Before the end of the decade, however, the new system announced in 1996 its decision to close Riverside Hospital due to economic reasons. At the time, this was the largest Jacksonville hospital to close.  Shortly thereafter the nursing home across the street and Riverside clinic followed suit.  These ancillary buildings were later replaced by The Villas of St. John’s in 1999 (a 257-unit luxury apartment complex) and other community developments.

By 2000, the location of the former Riverside Hospital was demolished (at a cost of $645,000) to make way for Riverside Market Square, a community retail center.