History of Northern Light Mayo Hospital

Northern Light Mayo Hospital gets its name from and owes its existence to Col. Edward J. Mayo. The hospital began with Colonel Edward Mayo’s generous gift of his home and $10,000. Mayo Hospital was literally built on a foundation of giving and a love for the communities and peoples of the Maine Highlands. This legacy continues today, and we want to thank the many people who support Mayo Hospital with their time, service, and financial donations. Community support and financial support are critical to sustaining the delivery of quality healthcare.

Born in 1864 in Foxcroft, now Dover-Foxcroft, Col. Mayo was a wealthy businessman and philanthropist whose family owned and operated the Mayo & Son Woolen Mill — now the site of Moosehead Manufacturing — for three generations.  Col. Mayo owned the mill founded by his grandfather and was active in his community as a bank trustee, railroad officer, Foxcroft Academy trustee and Piscataquis Valley Fair Association president. He served in the state House of Representatives in 1900-01.

The Colonel was a benefactor of the Congregational Church, Foxcroft Academy, the fair association and the Good Will Farm in Hinckley, but he is best remembered for the gift that bears his name to this day.

When Col. Mayo died in 1935, he willed his splendid home on West Main to the town of Dover-Foxcroft for use as a hospital. He bequeathed $10,000 for free beds, and free surgical and medical treatment for needy patients in town, and also designated one-fourth of his estate for the support and maintenance of the hospital.  The town accepted the gift — particularly generous in the midst of the Great Depression — and established Mayo Memorial Hospital on the site of the Mayo family homestead, converting the home (now known as the old Mayo building) to a hospital in 1936. That year Mrs. Gertrude Mayo, Col. Mayo’s widow, left another $10,000 to the hospital in her will.

In 1949, a maternity wing, later used as the hospital’s business office, was added to Mayo Memorial Hospital after a $30,000 fund-raising campaign led by the Miosac Club of Dover-Foxcroft and the Junior Women’s Club of Guilford. The Miosac women also spearheaded the drive for money to add an elevator, installed in 1956.

Discussions on consolidating small hospitals in Dover-Foxcroft, Dexter, and Milo into a regional hospital gained momentum in 1972. Two years later, voters in 13 area towns decided 2,677 to 1,632 to form Hospital Administrative District 4. A site committee chose next door to Mayo Memorial Hospital to build the new hospital. Robert McReavy, a former school superintendent in the Guilford area, was hired as the first administrator in 1974 and served until 1992.

The ground was broken for construction of a 52-bed acute care hospital in 1976. The $5.1 million Mayo Regional Hospital opened to patients on April 9, 1978, with a staff of 110.

In 1982, the state authorized HAD 4 to purchase Plummer Hospital in Dexter. That town joined Abbot, Atkinson, Bradford, Cambridge, Dover-Foxcroft, Guilford, Monson, Parkman, Sangerville, Sebec, and Willimantic as HAD 4 members.

A $1.3 million medical office building was constructed in 1989 on the east side of the old Mayo building.

In 2000, the hospital constructed a new ambulance garage for its Emergency Medical Service on Dwelley Avenue and received state Certificate of Need approval to begin a major expansion/renovation project on the main hospital building. That $8 million project broke ground in May 2001, and by 2003 had resulted in construction of a new Emergency Department, an expanded ambulatory services wing, and a Resource Center addition that includes space for physical therapy, occupational health, business offices, medical records and conference space. The expansion project also completed renovations of first-floor outpatient service areas and the second-floor Obstetrics Department.

Since 1995, Northern Light Mayo Hospital has operated a physician practice management department, with primary care offices in Corinth, Dexter, Dover-Foxcroft, and Milo.

In 2020, Mayo Regional Hospital officially becomes the tenth hospital of Northern Light Health and changed its name to Northern Light Mayo Hospital.

Northern Light Mayo Hospital is the largest healthcare provider in the Penquis region and is the third-largest employer in Piscataquis County.