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Our History

1953: Martin Memorial Hospital, which was located on Gilmer and Cherry streets in Mount Airy,

was founded by Dr. Moir S. Martin in 1915. The small hospital, which housed 75 beds, was destroyed by fire in 1953. That year, voters approved a referendum to create the Northern Regional Hospital District of Surry County and the Martin Memorial School of Nursing.


1957: With 98 beds, Northern Regional Hospital opened its doors to patients in 1957. John K. Lockhart served as the hospital’s first administrator, a position he held until 1991.

1958: The Martin Memorial School of Nursing was re-established next to the hospital in a facility later known as the Martin Memorial Building. However, in the early 1970s, the school closed and a new nursing program was established at Surry Community College.

1969: An intensive/coronary unit, which was one of the first such facilities in a rural community hospital, was added in 1969 along with a 24-hour emergency department and a physical therapy service.

1974: The construction of a 14,000 square foot ambulatory care addition, which included pathology, radiology, outpatient/emergency and office space added on to the hospital’s north wing, was completed in 1974.

1977: Because the service area of the hospital was medically underserved with about half of the citizens leaving the area for admission to other hospitals, a long-term plan was implemented to increase the number of physicians and services offered by Northern Regional Hospital. These new services included cardiology, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, urology, pediatrics, and anesthesiology.

1985: In 1985, the hospital increased its bed capacity to 160 beds to eliminate the use of four-bed wards. Nearly 80% of patient rooms became single occupancy. At this time, virtually the entire building was refurbished and modernized to provide state-of-the-art services. More services were added during the late 1980s, including a short-term in-patient psychiatric unit, an adult care service, and a skilled nursing facility.

1993: Additions to the emergency department and day surgery area were completed in 1993.

2002: As part of its commitment to excellence, the hospital completed an extensive $26 million expansion and renovation project that has enhanced access to quality care in a safe environment. Patients benefit from a host of new technologies, expanded services, and streamlined patient care.

2007: Renovations continued within the hospital as the Nuclear Medicine department expanded and ground was broken for the new Surgical Services expansion.

2009: In June 2009, the 58,000 square foot expansion of Surgical Services was completed and The Surgery Center was opened. This state-of-the-art facility includes integrated digital operating rooms, pre-admission testing, patient prep and holding areas, day surgery, endoscopy, family and visitor waiting, family consultation areas, post anesthesia care, and sterile processing.