Our History



More than 60 years of caring

Marlette Community Hospital, now Marlette Regional Hospital, opened on June 22, 1951, with 22 beds, after a construction that cost $300,000.

Since that humble beginning, MRH has grown and accumulated many “firsts.” The Marlette Amendment to the federal Hill Burton Act permitted federal grant dollars to be awarded to non-county-seat communities for the construction of hospitals. This amendment directly facilitated the construction of many more hospitals across the country.

MRH’s long-term care unit was the first hospital-attached long-term care facility in Michigan. It is now a 39-bed, skilled nursing facility—the highest level of licensure possible for a nursing home. Our staff continues to earn exceptional recognition from the Michigan Department of Community Health.

When the Hannah D. Wolfe Retirement Residence opened in 1969, it was the region’s first hospital-owned retirement residence for independent seniors. More than 40 years later, it continues to serve as a valuable resource for independent senior accommodations.

The 1980s saw the hospital’s innovative development of medical practices in surrounding communities—now an integrated network of primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Today, MRH has medical practices in five communities, serving three counties.

Our United Hospice Service program began its mission in 1983 and served as the first hospice service in the Thumb Region. Today, with the beautifully restored inpatient hospice residence, MRH’s United Hospice Service serves as the region’s oldest and largest hospice program, offering hope and inspiration to families in our area.

In 1993, the hospital constructed a new emergency department, a lab, and radiology facilities after a successful community fund drive. The hospital’s emergency department remains one of the busiest in the Thumb, and, because of the generous availability of skilled staff and technology, treats a large percentage of its patients without having to transfer them to another hospital facility.

In 1995, MRH opened the region’s first and only inpatient center for intensive rehabilitation, offering a spectrum of diagnostic, medical, and therapy services designed for patients with neurological, orthopedic, and degenerative conditions.

Marlette Regional Hospital forged an innovative relationship with St. Mary’s of Michigan in 2002 to bring cancer treatment expertise to the area. The Seton Cancer Institute in Marlette offers radiation therapy and chemotherapy services, providing local cancer patients convenience and leading-edge treatment technology, close to home.

However, what’s often lost in a recounting of our history is an appreciation for what happened before the hospital opened. Seven years prior to our opening, a group of civic-minded people believed that Marlette deserved a hospital. After the opening dedication more than 60 years ago, some of these volunteers remained associated with the hospital. Some quietly resumed their private lives. But all of them set an example of the dedication, stewardship, philanthropy, and community service that are still vital and modeled by our community supporters, employees, and medical staff today.