The history of the Carling property on which South Huron Hospital is built dates back to the establishment of the town of Exeter. The original house was built in 1854. When the estate was offered for sale in 1951, the South Huron Hospital Association purchased it and made the decision to incorporate the old home into the hospital plans.
The Exeter Lions Club originally spearheaded the hospital project. The first manager was H.C. Rivers and the first superintendent was Alice Claypole. The hospital opened in 1953 with 35 beds and 30 staff members.
A financial gift from Dr. James Bell allowed for the construction of a Nurses Residence, which housed a class of 14 RNAs. Once the nursing program was closed, this residence building became the existing South Huron Medical Centre.
In 1961 a new wing was built on the original house increasing the hospital’s capacity to 52 beds. Further expansion in 1966 added a kitchen, dining room, and laundry facilities.
Due to the deterioration of the 122-year-old house and because the hospital needed expansion, the Board of Directors apologetically decided to demolish the original house in 1976 and replace it with more modern facilities. In 2008, the Emergency Department was completely renovated and additional patient treatment rooms were added to enhance patient care, while complying with current infection control standards.