Victory Memorial Hospital: The “people’s hospital”
In 1891 a group of Lake County residents, concerned about the lack of a hospital in the county, organized the Lake County Hospital Association and opened a six-bed hospital at 720 North Avenue in Waukegan. The demand for services quickly exceeded the hospital’s capacity; new facilities were built in 1895 and again in 1904. A school of nursing was added in the early 1900s.

In 1918, as World War I came to an end and plans for a war memorial were being discussed, Fred B. Whitney, a local citizen, proposed that a larger hospital be built as a lasting tribute to Lake County soldiers who fought in the war. The charter for Victory Memorial Hospital was granted in 1919; the hospital opened in 1923 with a mission to “provide value-based healthcare services for our community, while striving for excellence and emphasizing human dignity.”

For more than 80 years, Victory Memorial worked for the betterment of the community, expanding its facilities, diversifying its programs, and innovating to serve growing needs. Among its services were an outpatient hemodialysis center, chemical dependency programs, day care for older adults, and the first blood bank in Lake County. Beyond Waukegan, it partnered with the Antioch Rescue Squad to provide treatment for critically ill patients in western Lake County and established a skilled-nursing care facility in Lindenhurst and a physical rehabilitation center in Lake Villa.