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Historical Highlights


Key Dates & Milestones

  • 1887: Construction of the first St. Peter hospital begins in April.
  • 1887: In June, the Sisters see their first patient, a man from a logging camp who purchased a "billet" for care. The hospital formally opens in September.
  • 1887-1888: In its first year of opening, with a staff of four Sisters, the hospital serves 225 patients as well as four elderly people and four orphans seeking shelter.
  • 1889: The hospital doubles its original size and serves 523 patients.
  • 1897: Several Olympia women host a dancing and card party, raising $35.60 for the hospital to begin installing electricity. One month later, the work is completed replacing coal oil lamps.
  • 1917: First X-ray machine is installed.
  • 1919: Growing numbers of patients prompts the opening of a school of nursing, offering a three-year course of study.
  • 1924: New hospital site opens in west Olympia, featuring a maternity ward, nursery, two deliver rooms, X-ray and lab.
  • 1938: A clinic for the poor opens, staffed by volunteer physicians with equipment donated from the hospital. More than 3,00 patients are seen the first year.
  • 1942: A new annex is built to accommodate a larger nursing school, part of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps in World War II.


Key Dates & Milestones

  • 1955: The nursing school graduates its last class after training 341 nurses over 35 years.
  • 1965: The Sisters create an advisory board of 16 male community leaders to strengthen the hospital's bond with the community.
  • 1968: Coronary care unit opens with additional cardiac monitoring equipment.
  • 1971: Opening of the current day hospital tower on Lilly Road.
  • 1974: The first lay administrator, David Bjornson, takes over from Sister Claire Gagnon
  • 1975: Regional Cancer Center earns accreditation from the American College of Surgeons.
  • 1975: CAT scanning is introduced, followed by ultrasound in 1976.
  • 1979: St. Peter Community Health Foundation (later Providence St. Peter Foundation) begins its work to further the Sister's mission to meet health care needs.
  • 1982: Construction starts on a $34.4 million expansion, which includes a short stay surgery wing, psychiatric unit, intensive and coronary care, surgery, maternity and nursery areas.
  • 1984: Free-standing 26-bed psychiatry unit opens.
  • 1985: First cardiac catherization laboratory opens.
  • 1987: Sunshine House, a community effort headed by the Altrusa Club of Olympia, opens to provide temporary housing for families of patients.
  • 1988: The Foundation launches its first Christmas Forest auction, which now raises more than $450,000 annually for health care needs.
 Providence St. Peter Hospital History 1936 Pediatrics Ward  Providence St Peter Hospital History 1950 Patient Room


Key Dates & Milestones

  • 1990: Chemical Dependency Center moves to a separate site in Lacey.
  • 1990: The hospital partners with South Sound Radiology to install a fixed MRI facility for non-invasive diagnosis of neurological disorders.
  • 1991: The St. Peter Family Practice Residency Program begins in affiliation with the University of Washington School of Medicine.
  • 1991: Providence Mother Joseph Care Center, which provides transitional, long-term and Alzheimer's care for elders, opens just west of the hospital.
  • 1991: Regional Heart's Center's cardiac surgery, coronary bypasses, valve repair and replacement, and pacemaker implantation.
  • 1995: Hospital's inpatient rehabilitation program receives national accreditation.
  • 1995: Boldt Diabetes Care Center is named in honor of the late Dr. Kenneth Boldt who helped establish the diabetes care program in 1887.
  • 1997: New birthing center opens with 19 birthing suites featuring a one-room labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum concept in a home-like setting.
  • 1998: Providence St. Francis House opens, providing affordable housing for seniors.
  • 1999: Rated in top 100 hospitals in nation for cardiac bypass surgery, intervention cardiology, orthopedics, hip replacement and fracture repair.
  • 1999: Outpatient surgery expansion includes three new operating rooms and 15 new pre-op and recovery beds.
  • 2000: Volunteers serve one million hours since 1975.
Providence St. Peter Hospital History Heartflight Formation