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Inova Alexandria Hospital celebrates 150th anniversary

Inova Alexandria Hospital celebrated its 150th anniversary on Monday with local elected officials.

The hospital was founded in 1872, in the wake of a typhoid outbreak. It is Virginia’s oldest continuously operating community hospital.

“The city of Alexandria faced a significant health threat,” said Inova Alexandria President Dr. Rina Bansal. “A ship docking in Alexandria’s port had an outbreak of typhoid and everyone in the city fear a wider epidemic was on the way.”

The hospital was founded as the Alexandria Infirmary Association in 1872 by Julia Johns, the daughter of the Episcopal Bishop of Alexandria. Johns called on her charitable friends and formed a board of Lady Managers, who operated the hospital for decades. The first surgery at the hospital was reportedly a leg amputation in 1882, at the first location at the intersection of Duke and Fairfax Streets in Old Town.

The infirmary was also the first nursing school in Virginia. Alexandria Hospital was officially renamed in 1904, and the current 318-bed facility at 4320 Seminary Road has been in use since the 1960s.

“Alexandria residents don’t have to choose between getting world class and health care and getting convenient health care close to home,” said Dr. J. Stephen Jones, president and CEO of the Inova Health System.

The hospital merged with the Inova health system in 1996, and will eventually move to the Landmark area. By 2028, the proposed 675,000 square foot Inova at Landmark project will include a 130,000-square-foot cancer center and 110,000 square-foot specialty outpatient care center.

“You all are not only contributing to the health of our community for the future, but you’re also contributing to the economic health of our community and very much becoming a catalyst for redevelopment at Landmark law and we’re very excited to see that come to fruition,” Mayor Justin Wilson told hospital staff.