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UNC Rockingham Health Care enjoys a rich history. Through location and name changes, it has remained consistent in providing trusted care, close to home to the communities in the region.

The Founders

In 1924, Drs. C. V. Tyner and Kenan Casteen of Leaksville, and Dr. H. Carlyle Dixon of Madison, saw a need for a hospital in the Tri-City area. Marshall Field & Co. gave the three young physicians a $7,500 loan to build the hospital and a $7,500 donation toward its operations.

The physician-owned, 24-bed facility provided round-the-clock nursing care. Many of the nurses were trained across the street at the hospital’s school of nursing.

In 1933, the hospital incorporated, becoming Leaksville General Hospital.


A Community Hospital

As the responsibilities of hospital management increased over the years, the founding doctors felt Leaksville Hospital could be better administered with the participation and interest of the community. In 1953, Marshall Field and Company endorsed the decision by donating $45,000 on behalf of the community. The Duke Endowment gave an equal amount. Leaksville Hospital was re-named Tri-City Hospital. It reflected the natural melding that was occurring between the towns of Leaksville, Spray and Draper, though it would not be until 1967 that three towns would officially consolidate into one – Eden.

Time for a New Facility

By 1957, the Board of Trustees of the community-owned Tri-City Hospital recognized the need to build a more modern facility. The North Carolina Medical Care Commission funded $193,500 for new construction, and another $562,500 was received in state and federal grants. Spray, Power, Water and Land Co. donated acreage in a growing area that was central to the three towns.

The community’s task was to raise the remaining capital — $500,000. A $100,000 donation from Fieldcrest Inc. kickstarted the campaign, with another $223,509.68, the largest group donation, coming from the pockets of its textile mill employees.

The dollars started adding up as donations came from all segments of the community: civic clubs business employees, school personnel and retirees. It was a $100,000 donation that came in from John Motely Morehead III, a Spray native, noted philanthropist and mayor of Rye, New York, that put the campaign well over the top and added enough to fund an additional floor to the building. As the largest individual donor, the Board decided to name the hospital Morehead Memorial Hospital, to commemorate the entire Morehead family.


In 1984 a construction project, consisting of a 48,000-square-foot addition and 19,000 square feet of renovation to the existing facility, was completed. The additional space created a new operating suite, emergency and outpatient department, labor and delivery suite, and intensive care unit. Most departments, including physical therapy, respiratory therapy, radiology, laboratory, pharmacy, medical records and administration, were renovated and expanded. The addition of a new main lobby, waiting areas for families and friends, and elevators provided more privacy and comfort for patients, employees and visitors, as well as improved traffic patterns.

In 1992 a new Day Hospital was opened for same day surgery and other medical procedures. The surgery suite was renovated and a fifth operating room was opened in 1993. A new birthing center also was opened in 1992. With larger and more comfortable birthing suites, new mothers and dads could spend the labor and delivery in the same room, and their newborn could remain with them during their stay.

The Smith McMichael Cancer Center, now UNC Cancer Care at Rockingham, a service of UNC Hospitals, and a nursing home were added in 1994. The following decades saw more expansions including the Wright Diagnostic Center in Eden and Morehead Urgent Care West in Mayodan.

UNC Rockingham Health Care

In January 2018, Morehead Memorial Hospital affiliated with UNC Health Care, based in Chapel Hill. The hospital was renamed UNC Rockingham Health Care to reflect the integration that offers the Eden facility the opportunity to expand cancer care, recruit primary and specialty physicians and continue offering advanced care to its patients.