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Archives & Special Collections

Background

History of PCOM

In 1899 Mason W. Pressly and Oscar John Snyder, targeted Philadelphia as a future home for an osteopathic medical college. The two DOs followed through with their vision, incorporating the Philadelphia College and Infirmary of Osteopathy (PCIO) on January 24, 1899. They rented two rooms in the Stephen Girard Building at 21 S. 12th Street -- the first of many homes for the College -- and opened their doors to students and patients. In September 1899 the first PCIO degree was awarded to a transfer student; the first PCIO "class," comprised of one woman and one MD, graduated in February 1900.

As the College grew, it moved to larger quarters, establishing its first "campus" at 33rd and Arch Streets, a suburban neighborhood in West Philadelphia. By 1906 the College opened the Osteopathic Dispensary at 1617 Fairmount Avenue, forerunner of the Osteopathic Hospital of Philadelphia. The College moved to 1715 N. Broad Street (1908-1912), then to 832 Pine Street in the city's Society Hill section, where a hospital would come to fruition at 410 S. Ninth Street.

After many prosperous years on Pine Street, PCIO bought its first building at 19th and Spring Garden Streets in 1916. The College, officially renamed Philadelphia College of Osteopathy (PCO) in 1921, added a new hospital to the rear and acquired two adjacent townhouses -- one for additional classrooms and clinics, the other for a nurses' home. A Training School for Nurses and Department of Free Clinics were established in the Hospital, which featured a surgical amphitheater.

Expanding again, PCO was completing construction of a new Collegiate Gothic-style college and hospital building at 48th and Spruce Streets on the eve of the Depression.

In 1951 PCO acquired Women's Homeopathic Hospital at 20th Street and Susquehanna Avenue, making it into a satellite facility called North Center Hospital.

In time, 48th Street no longer met the needs for state-of-the-art medical education and patient care or the demands for larger class sizes. In 1968 the Frederic H. Barth Pavilion of the Hospitals of PCOM opened on the former Moss Estate at City Avenue. Evans Hall, the classroom, library and laboratory building, was completed in 1973. An adjacent five-story office building, acquired in 1979, was renovated into classrooms, laboratories, and medical offices and later appropriately named Rowland Hall after PCOM's fourth president.

In keeping with the College's mission to train primary care physicians, PCOM opened a rural health care center in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania, and several other health care centers in urban Philadelphia neighborhoods.

For more than a century, PCOM has trained osteopathic physicians - doctors who practice a "whole person" approach to medicine, treating people, not just symptoms. Nearly 70% of PCOM students are from Pennsylvania, and many graduates practice medicine in rural and urban medically underserved areas of the state. The College also offers advanced degree programs in psychology, physician assistant studies, biomedical sciences, and forensics.

Georgia Campus

Georgia Campus