Founder Harry Gregg
Harry Alan Gregg, founder of the Crotched Mountain Foundation, was born in 1883 to a very hard working family. His father, David A. Gregg, ran several businesses including a wholesale grocery business, a grain dealership and a renowned lumber business. These family businesses were very successful, and Gregg's father was very generous.
Harry Gregg learned from his father's example as his love for children inspired him to start a program in Nashua where he arranged for host families to take poor children into their homes for the summer. This idea soon expanded and Gregg established a camp for children on Crotched Mountain.
Once Gregg established the children's camp, he met Ezra Jones, MD, who was working to rehabilitate World War I veterans with war injuries. Jones was the first orthopedic doctor in New Hampshire. He became friends with Gregg and, together, they founded the New Hampshire Society for Crippled Children in 1936. The Society publicized the need for more extensive treatment programs for disabled people, lobbied for favorable legislation and carried on mobile rehabilitation clinics around the state.
One day, while passing through Greenfield, Gregg was stopped by a local resident who suggested that he consider the property on top of Crotched Mountain for expanding his children's programs. Gregg was so thrilled with the idea that both he and Dr. Jones set a plan in motion to build a rehabilitation center and hospital on Crotched Mountain. To do this, both Gregg and Jones did a tremendous amount of fund raising during the 1940s and early 1950s throughout the state and the northeast, raising over $1.5 million for construction costs and creation of a hospital and endowment. It was said that this was the biggest fund raising effort done in New Hampshire at that time.
The Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center opened its doors to patients in 1953. The hallmark of its near 60-year history has been an ability to adapt to meet the needs of many populations. CMRC started out with a hospital where disabled children from all over the United States and other countries came for treatments. An initial focus on polio shifted to children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other physical and neurological disabilities. A School for the Deaf opened in 1955 and continued through the early 1970s. An adult center for rehabilitation opened in 1961. A center for the rehabilitation of adults with brain injuries opened in 1986. An outpatient clinic opened its doors in 2001.
Crotched Mountain also recognized that the needs of people with disabilities could not be met only through services on the mountain. Beginning in the 1980s Crotched Mountain initiated programs in communities around New Hampshire and selected localities in surrounding states. Crotched Mountain has built apartments for people with disabilities, provides care management services, referral services and day programs that allow people to live as members of communities.
Today, Crotched Mountain provides services to over 2,000 children and adults each year. There are more than 900 employees and an annual operating budget of $42.6 million. Though Harry A. Gregg died in 1972, the vision of Crotched Mountain is still guided by something he once said, "The most remarkable thing about the handicapped is that they are seeking but an ordinary future. It is up to us to help them in any way we can."