“This building an everything in it belongs to you people around here whom I’ve always had my heart.”
– Ty Cobb
"A Hospital Built with a Bat"
When Ty Cobb was growing up in Royston, only a handful of scattered doctors were available to minister to the sick. In the tough years following the Great Depression in the 1930s, only two very quaint, home-based hospitals were in operation in the tri-county area, both located in Royston. Try as they might, these hospitals were inadequately equipped to serve the health and welfare of those in need. One of the hospitals was the Brown Hospital owned and operated by Dr. Stewart D. Brown, Sr., who fully understood the need for a larger, fully equipped, modern hospital in Royston and the rest of northeast Georgia.
This dream for a new hospital was not new and dated back to the early 1930s when both Mr. Cobb and Dr. Brown had suggested the idea. On November 16, 1945, Ty Cobb, in conjunction with Dr. Stewart D. Brown, Sr., announced plans to go through with building the hospital. “We want a real model hospital for the town,” said Mr. Cobb.
True to his word, Ty Cobb donated $100,000 to start the plans to build a modern 24-bed hospital with the latest equipment sufficient to meet the needs of growing healthcare challenges in the region of Franklin, Hart, Madison and Elbert counties. From the start, Mr. Cobb set in motion the idea to name the hospital in honor of his parents, Herschel and Amanda Cobb.
The corporation for the hospital was set up on February 15, 1947. The first meeting for the Cobb Memorial Hospital Association, CMHA, was set for Thursday, November 6, 1947, in the home of Dr. and Mrs. Stewart D. Brown in Royston for the purpose of electing officers, reading the by-laws and adopting the charter. Dr. Brown made motion to make Ty Cobb, of baseball fame, honorary chairman. The motion was seconded by Linton S. Johnson, and the motion carried unanimously.
At the dedication ceremony on Sunday, January 22, 1950, Dr. Brown told the waiting 3,000 citizens on hand that it was because of Ty Cobb’s gift that the hospital was possible. “Let us thank God, Ty Cobb and the others for their generosity in providing this community this modern hospital.”
Ty Cobb himself said, “This building and everything in it belongs to you people around here whom I’ve always had in my heart.”
From its humble beginnings, the CMHA grew into one of the largest and finest rural healthcare systems in the state, expanding the hospital and services over the next few decades. The operation had grown so large and successful that a name change to honor its founder was inevitable. In the summer of 1991, the name was lawfully changed to Ty Cobb Healthcare System, Inc. (TCHS), and operational expansions continued under that name.
By the turn of the century, Ty Cobb Healthcare System consisted of three rural community hospitals (Cobb Memorial, Hart County Hospital, Barrow Community Hospital); three nursing homes (Brown Memorial Convalescent Center, Cobb Healthcare Center, and Hartwell Healthcare Center); a dialysis center; a home medical equipment service; an occupational health service; a specialized pediatric therapy program (Wee Care Rehabilitation); physician practices; and other outpatient services. At its peak, the system employed over 1,200 healthcare professionals.
The dream that grew between Ty Cobb and Dr. Stewart D. Brown was realized and reached its maturity.
Ty Cobb had been proud of the hospital, remarking on December 17, 1959, “I am privileged to feel so good because the hospital is doing so good and serving the people here.”