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Online Tours:
History Trail

Stop 1: George Robert White Memorial Building

Since 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 28, 1942.

The White Building was for many years the tallest building at the MGH and a highly visible component of the Boston skyline.