Created By: Hannibal Square Heritage Center
Mary Lee DePugh was quick to make a name for herself after arriving in Hannibal Square in 1937. After creating the Ideal Woman's Club, she noticed the poor health of her elderly neighbor and decided that the community was in need of a nursing facility. She and the members of the Ideal Woman's Club created the Benevolent Club, and from this idea they developed the "Nursing Home Project" in the 1940's. This was eventually named in her honor in 1956, and is known today as the Gardens at DePugh.
Fred Rogers, chairman of Rollins College Interracial Committee (RCIC) from 1950 to 1951, argued that "Winter Park is in dire need of such a building, since there is no colored doctor in the town, and an Orlando doctor (negro) asks $8.00 a visit from patients in Winter Park." According to Dr. Julian Chambliss of Rollins College, its first iteration was intended to include "a minor operating room and a delivery room, plus room for 10 patients." Eventually, $30,000 was raised forits development, and it was opened on January 25, 1956, which is also the day that it accepted itsfirst patient. At this time, it had “28 beds, two full time and two part time registered nurses, fourteen nurse’s assistants and a full time custodian,” as well as a kitchen. Today, it continues to thrive. It now has 40 beds, and has been rated a 5-star Skilled Nursing Facility by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as receiving yet another 5-star rating from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Hannibal Square Heritage Center Tour