Wheatley-Provident Hospital – Kansas City, Missouri - Atlas Obscura

Wheatley-Provident Hospital

The crumbling remains of the first Black-owned and operated hospital in Kansas City. 

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Wheatley-Provident Hospital, the first Black-owned hospital in Kansas City operated from 1916 to 1972. In a time when much of the country’s African-American population was denied access to medical care and education, the hospital served the region’s non-white community. 

It was the vision of Dr. John Edward Perry, an African-American doctor from Texas who sought to challenge inequality. In 1903, Perry moved to Kansas City. His first effort was a small two-story sanitarium and nursing school on Vine Street. With help from the Phyllis Wheatley Club, an African-American women’s organization started in Nashville, Tennessee, and New Movement Association, an elite African-American group, that school grew into Wheatley-Provident Hospital.

The hospital moved into a larger building, and became an important institution in the heavily segregated city. Perry continued to work there, treating patients and training medical professionals, until his death in 1962. The hospital stayed open for a few more years, but the facilities were not equipped to serve the needs of the community. In 1972, Wheatley-Provident closed down and its patients were moved to the newly-built Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital.

After its closure, the hospital lay vacant for while. It briefly served as a haunted house, known as The Asylum in the 80s and Dr. Deadly’s Haunted Hospital in the 90s. In 2012, it was placed on a dangerous buildings list after having been set on fire twice in one day, but was saved from destruction in 2018 when the property was purchased with plans to redevelop.

 

Know Before You Go

It is private property, street side viewing only.