The Dimock Center was founded on July 1, 1862 by Dr. Marie Zakrzewska as the New England Hospital for Women and Children. (It opened as a hospital of ten beds in a small wooden building on Pleasant Street.) Dimock was the first hospital in New England opened and operated by women for women, and only the second in the country.
Noted prominently for its role in the history of women in medicine, Dimock became a leader in American healthcare. It was the only hospital in New England that combined medical, surgical, obstetrical, and pediatric services in a single institution. The Dimock Center was the first hospital in the country to establish a school for nurses and graduated America’s first trained nurse, Miss Linda Richards in 1873, and the country’s first black nurse, Mary Eliza Mahoney in 1879.
The original choice of the Roxbury campus site was motivated by the comparatively low cost of land, the clear air and quiet of a country location. Situated on a nine-acre site that includes nine buildings constructed over a fifty-eight year period (from 1872 to 1930), The Dimock Center campus was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, designated as a National Landmark in 1991, and selected as a Boston Historical Landmark in 1995.
In 1969, in response to community needs, The New England Hospital became “Dimock Community Health Center”, a nonprofit, minority-directed, community-based organization that provides an integrated continuum of health and human services and serves to some of Boston’s neediest neighborhoods.
Today, The Dimock Center has grown to incorporate new, renovated and restored buildings on its campus, an expansion that enabled Dimock to continue to innovate, building on its nationally recognized services for families and children, and increase the number of individuals accessing those services. As the largest community-based agency in Roxbury, Dimock serves thousands upon thousands of children, adults and families each year.
(Source: Jamaica Plain Historical Society)