Statement of Significance (as of designation - August 1, 1991):
Established in 1925 by Mary Breckinridge (1881?-1965), this marked the first effort to professionalize midwifery in the United States. Up until the 1930s, an American woman was more likely to die in childbirth than from any other disease except tuberculosis; the mortality rate was especially high in rural areas. Breckinridge and her nurses provided quality prenatal and maternity care. Their skill and devotion to the cause of improving the health of mountain people has had a great impact in a formerly isolated and rural area.