Kimball Name Change Marks A New Chapter In Lakewood’s History
Barnabas Health's recent announcement of Lakewood's Kimball Medical Center to Monmouth Medical Center Southern Branch marks a significant event in the township's rich history.
Edith Wolpin of the Lakewood Historical Society said the hospital was originally named after the late local prominent physician, Doctor Paul Kimball when it opened in 19-13. She said, Doctor Kimball treated the township's patients in the the late 18-hundreds, during Lakewood's 'Golden Era'. He was the main doctor for the Laurel House, one of the township's largest hotels (which no longer exists).
However, Wolpin said she doesn't think the name change will make a big difference to the township's old-timers.
"We will probably still refer to the hospital as Kimball, just like we still refer to Ocean County Park as Rockies," according to Wolpin. "It's just a shame that the Kimball name could not continue because here they just celebrated 100 years," she explained.
Wolpin said the hospital was built to serve a growing population when there was no hospital in all of Ocean County. She said the Paul Kimball Hospital opened with just 13 beds (some accounts place that number at 16) Treating mainly patients with tuberculosis.
The demolition of Lakewood's historical buildings and even changes to the hospital itself don't come as a shock to the township's old-timers, according to Wolpin because she said they're used to change. "Some of us like it very much and some of us don't like it at all and some of us say 'you can't stop change and if the change is for the better okay'," said Wolpin