Why does Charlotte Hungerford have a hospital named after her?
The main building of the hospital, which could easily be mistaken for a grand Upper East Side apartment building, is what is named for Charlotte Hungerford. The Torrington hospital was founded in 1916, but it was the marriage of Charlotte Austin and John Hungerford in 1820 that started it all. Austin was 20 years old when she married Hungerford and raised his two children and the 12 more they had together.
Hungerford was owner of the Wolcott-ville Manufacturing Company and the Coe Brass Manufacturing Company. His wife was well known for her local religious and charitable activities, her courage, and her generosity.
Their son Uri, the 11th child, who went on to make his fortune in the hardware business, saw fit to honor his mother. He chose the site and contributed an initial $500,000 to begin the hospital project. When he died in 1926 another $500,000 was bequeathed toward the project. Upon the death of his wife, the project received another $4 million, which was three-quarters of his estate.
Four Story Hill, as it was known, just over the town line between Litchfield and Torrington, was the chosen spot for the original building, which had just fifty beds. Hungerford would hardly recognize the complex today: seven stories high with triple the original patient capacity with state-of-the-art services and equipment that make it one of the area’s most impressive medical facilities.