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Sacred Heart commemorated its 125th Anniversary in 2011.

We invite you to take a look at the people and events that have shaped our hospital's past.



Key Dates & Milestones

  • 1886 (April 30) – Mother Joseph leaves Vancouver, WA, for Spokane.
  • 1886 (May 14) – Sisters (in Montreal) agree to build the hospital.
  • 1886 (July 2) – Blessing of the Cornerstone on the feast of Sacred Heart, which led to the naming of the hospital.
  • 1887 (January 15) – First patient is admitted.
  • 1887 (January 27) – Sacred Heart Hospital formally opens.
  • 1887 (February 14) – The county awards the Sisters a contract to care for the poor at a rate of $1 per day.
  • 1888 – Total of 579 patients seen.
  • History_31889 – Additional wing opens.
  • 1893 – The first operating table arrives, quickly followed by two more additions to accommodate three operations per day.
  • 1892 – Electric lights replace oil lamps.
  • 1893 – First obstetrical patient delivers a baby at Sacred Heart.
  • 1898 – Nurses Training School opens–the first in Spokane and second in the state.
  • 1899 – Doctors pay $375 for the first X-ray machine.


Key Dates & Milestones

  • 1900 – First class of nurses graduate from the School of Nursing.
  • 1902 – A new wing allows for 17 private rooms, a new operating room and three bathrooms. The new rooms would provide an additional $12-15 of income each week.
  • 1907 – Dedication of the cornerstone of the new hospital at 8th & Browne.
  • History of Scared Heart in Spokane, WA.1910 (March) – Transfer of 130 patients from the riverfront location to the new building at on the South Hill. It includes a maternity ward and nursery, since women are now birthing in hospitals instead of at home. The cost of the new facility is $800,000 (four times the original estimate of six years prior).
  • 1917 – Anesthesia training program begins (later becomes the School of Anesthesia).
  • 1919 – Department of Laboratory Medicine opens.
  • 1922 – Another wing is added.
  • 1932 – Laboratory opens its School of Medical Technology.
  • 1941 – First triplets born at Sacred Heart.
  • 1946 – New Sacred Heart School of Nursing constructed to accommodate up to 300 students. (In the 80s, this building would become a nursing home; today it serves as office space.)
  • 1949 – Completion of the South Center and Southeast wings brought the bed capacity to 505. (These structures still exist today as the East and Center towers of the Sacred Heart Doctors Building.)
  • 1950s – Maternity Clinic is established as part of the Ob/Gyn residency program at Sacred Heart.
  • 1959 – Spokane’s first open-heart surgery is performed by Dr. Ralph Berg at Sacred Heart. (The nation’s first open-heart surgery was performed at the Mayo Clinic only 4 years earlier.) 



Key Dates & Milestones

  • History of Sacred Heart in Spokane, WA.1960 – Sacred Heart Service League begins.
  • 1960 (October 7) – First Heart Beat newsletter is published.
  • 1960 – Entrance remodeled to accommodate curb-side admission of emergency patients arriving by ambulance.
  • 1962 – Artificial Kidney Center opens–the third in the nation!
  • 1962 – Heart Beat staff newsletter becomes regional magazine.
  • 1960s – Eight-bed intensive care unit for babies opens.
  • 1967 Sister Peter Claver receives permission to plan the construction of a completely new facility.
  • 1968 (September 10) – Cornerstone of new hospital is laid.
  • 1971 – New Sacred Heart Medical Center opens with 623 beds at a cost of $35 million. Staff and volunteers move 350 patients from the old building to the new facility via underground tunnel.
  • History of Sacred Heart in Spokane, WA.1971 – New building designed to accommodate helicopter landings on the roof. Military personnel began carrying premature and critically ill infants from outlying areas.
  • 1971 (October 21) – New building is dedicated.
  • 1972 – Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation program opens.
  • 1973 – 1,000th open-heart surgery performed. Also, fathers are allowed to be in the delivery room!
  • 1974Educational Services develops a TV studio; closed-caption TV broadcasts educational programs to patients and staff.
  • 1976 – Computerized body scanner installed in Radiology.
  • 1977 – Master’s degree program in Anesthesia offered jointly with Sacred Heart and Gonzaga University.
  • 1975 – St. Joseph Care Center moved from Mission Ave. to the Sacred Heart campus.
  • 1981 – The maternity ward opened an antepartum unit for women in high-risk pregnancies.
  • 1981 (November 2) – The Kidney Transplant Program begins and the first patient receives a transplant
  • 1982 – Spokane’s first set of quadruplets was born at Sacred Heart.
  • History_91982 – Sacred Heart begins its Children’s Hospital Fair for local school children to learn about health care in a hands-on environment.
  • 1982 – Cardiac Emergency Network forms to streamline the care of heart attack victims in rural areas.
  • 1983 – "Sacred Heart Air" (Adult Infant Rescue) air ambulance program begins.
  • 1984 – East Addition opens, housing psychiatry, rehabilitation and outpatient services.
  • 1984 – The Maternity Clinic formerly operated by the Ob/Gyn residency program is adopted as a Sacred Heart program.
  • 1985 – Breast Center opened to provide early screening for breast cancer.
  • 1985 (June 8) – Heartflite. a full-time, hospital-based air transport program, begins service.
  • 1986 – The Birth Place initiated its 24-hour telephone Helpline for mothers of new babies.
  • 1986Centennial celebration. Noted events include installation of Ken Spiering’s sculpture near the site of the original hospital (on Centennial Trail near today’s Convention Center) and presentation of the Heart Follies song and dance show by employees and physicians. WATCH VIDEO »