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Historic Greenville medical center receives $600,000 in funding

The McClaren Medical Shelter served Greenville’s Black community in the 1950’s, and will soon serve the community again as a center offering health care and support services.


A glimpse into the future. | Rendering via The City of Greenville

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A $600,000 investment from state and local leaders will help bring new life to the historic McClaren Medical Shelter, located at Academy and Wardlaw Streets, with the same mission it served in the 1950’s: to provide resources to the community.

The past

Founded in 1949, Dr. Edward E. McClaren opened the Medical Shelter after Working Benevolent Society Hospital, serving Black Greenvillians, closed in 1948. At the time, Black citizens were not served at St. Francis Hospital, and Greenville Memorial Hospital only had one ward dedicated to Black patients.


Dr. McClaren performed 300+ surgeries at his medical shelter. | Photo via The City of Greenville

Dr. McClaren built the shelter next to his home with his own money, providing healthcare to his community and serving 1,000+ patients who either paid out of pocket or received free care — since insurance companies wouldn’t allow him to bill them for fees.


Dr. McClaren used $15,000 of his own funds to build the shelter. | Photo via The City of Greenville

The present

Rep. Chandra Dillard advocated for money in the state budget to renovate and revitalize the center, announcing $500,000 in state funds on Monday, July 17.

“It was a pleasure to be an advocate to bring much-needed resources back to my district,” Dillard said. “We need to get this project going.”

Greenville City Councilmember Lillian Brock Fleming — who was a patient of Dr. McClaren — also announced $100,000 in discretionary funds each city council district is budgeted for projects within the district.

This $600,000 investment kicks off the efforts to bring new life to the historic building, which was relocated in 2020 to begin the renovation efforts, with plans to break ground on the project this fall.

The future

Once redeveloped, the Shelter will become the McClaren Institute for Health and Quality of Life and will provide health care and support services for the community. The building will also house the Urban League of the Upstate.