Stop 1: George
Robert White Memorial Building
its 1939 opening, the White Building, has been the "front
door" of the hospital. A thirteen story structure in the
form of a cross, it was designed by the architectural firm of
Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott.
Funds for the building came from the 1930 will of Mrs. Harriet
J. Bradbury and the 1922 will of her brother, for whom the building
was named. George Robert White, a self-made man, had founded Cuticura
Corporation and established two charitable funds, including the
Humanitarian Fund, from which the MGH gift derived.
The MGH demolished the Bigelow Operating Building and the X-ray
Building to clear space for the new structure. The White Building
originally housed the hospital telephone exchange, surgical offices
and labs, operating rooms, an X-ray Lab, and eight floors of wards
and private rooms for surgical patients. A kitchen and dining
rooms occupied the basement. The ground floor housed administrative
offices, general admission, and the Emergency Ward.
It was through this White Building lobby that victims of the Cocoanut
Grove nightclub fire entered the MGH on the fateful night of November
The White Building was for many years the tallest building at
the MGH and a highly visible component of the Boston skyline.