Then and now: From one doctor to 1,000, St. Mark’s celebrates 150 yearsMar 29, 2022 10:04PM ● By Deb Hafner
Then: Nurses weigh a baby in the newborn wing of St. Mark’s, circa 1874. (Photos courtesy St. Mark’s Hospital)
By Deb Hafner | [email protected]
For the past few years, as the Covid-19 pandemic affected medical staff and hospitals across the nation, St. Mark’s Hospital has been no exception.
“We felt the full force of Covid-19 in our halls, no doubt,” said CEO Jeremy Bradshaw, “but this year we are celebrating the St. Mark’s legacy of 150 years in Utah.”
St. Mark’s has been around not only for the most recent global
pandemic, but also for a typhoid epidemic, the polio outbreak in the 1950s, the
Great Depression and two world wars. “We’ve seen it all, and we are still here
for our community, committed to providing the best healthcare in Utah,”
Hospital staff are taking the time to reflect on St. Mark’s long presence in Utah, juxtaposing its many historical contributions with its modern achievements, and giving back to the community with events, donations and volunteerism.
St. Mark’s was the first hospital in Utah, opening its doors April 30, 1872. The small hospital building on 500 East 400 South was secured by Episcopal Rev. Daniel S. Tuttle to fill the healthcare void in the blossoming Salt Lake valley. It had six beds, one physician (Dr. John F. Hamilton), all male nurses and its patients were primarily miners with lead poisoning and industrial injuries.
Today’s St. Mark’s, now owned by MountainStar Healthcare, part of the Mountain Division of HCA Healthcare, is in the middle of a $140 million renovation and new construction project, which includes building a modern patient tower planned to open in 2023. It serves 80,000-plus outpatients, 15,000-plus inpatients and delivers over 3,500 babies per year. St. Mark’s employs over 2,000 doctors, staff, and volunteers and is part of a national and international network of nearly 300 hospitals.
In 1893, and a couple of growth-related moves later, the hospital was located at 803 North 200 West, adjacent to the fabled Warm Springs, where patients could enjoy plunges into the alleged healing water.
During this time the hospital began gathering items for a time capsule that was placed as a cornerstone in one of the original buildings. When the hospital moved to its current campus at 1200 E. 3900 South, the time capsule was moved to the main lobby. In April, the hospital plans to open the time capsule in a public ceremony.
“Thanks to the incredible preservation efforts by St. Mark’s
Hospital colleagues who have come and gone in the century-plus before us, it is
our understanding that the time capsule will include historical items dating as
far back as the late 1800s—in the years immediately after the hospital was
founded in 1872,” Sean Patterson, COO at St. Mark’s Hospital said. “We also
have reason to believe that the time capsule holds several items from the 1970s
when St. Mark’s Hospital moved into our current building and location. These
items are expected to not only help tell the story of St. Mark’s over time—from
medical professionals to standard practices in healthcare—but also, to paint a
picture of the world at the time.”
St. Mark’s continued its trajectory as a transformative, forward-thinking institution in 1894, when the St. Mark's Hospital School of Nursing was formed. As the first training school for nurses in the Intermountain West, it had dormitories and an accredited program. The school exists today as the St. Mark’s-Westminster College School of Nursing.
In 1895, St. Mark's started the first ambulance service in Utah with its acquisition of a horse-drawn wagon. The hospital superintendent at the time, D. Douglas Wallace, declared, "Our ambulance, which is the only one in the city, has been invaluable and a great boon to those unfortunate enough to meet with accidents.” One hundred and fifty years later, St. Mark’s has two Airbus AS350 B3e model high-altitude performing helicopters, the same model as the first aircraft to make a successful landing on Mount Everest.
As an institution of historical firsts with a storied history in Utah, St. Mark’s was also first to offer medical insurance; purchase an X-ray machine; create a charity association to aid with funding; and launch one of the earliest children’s wards.
Fast forward 150 years, and St. Mark’s continues this paragon, pioneering notable firsts in surgical robotics, women’s health and community-targeted online courses.
St. Mark’s has planned activities to engage patients, employees and the Utah community in its sesquicentennial celebration. In addition to the festivities surrounding the opening of the time capsule, St. Mark’s will be hosting an ongoing food drive, free medical educational seminars, partnerships with local businesses, fundraisers for K-12 classrooms, and volunteer opportunities to benefit the surrounding community.
For more information on the 150th anniversary events at St. Mark’s Hospital, go to mountainstar.com/locations/st-marks-hospital.