Turn with me now, if you will, to pages 130 and 131 of the city directory of the year 1924.
These two pages provide us with a starting point for learning a bit of the history of Fort Worth hospitals. You may remember All Saints Episcopal Hospital on Magnolia Avenue at 8th Avenue. Like me, you may not remember Baptist Hospital on Pennsylvania Avenue at Ballinger Street and Southwestern Hospital on Lamar Street at 6th Street downtown. Note that all three hospitals had training schools for nurses. Note also the LAmar and ROsedale phone exchanges.
The oldest of the three hospitals was All Saints Episcopal. It opened in 1906. But the hospital was, to borrow a term from the maternity ward, born only after a long and difficult labor.
A ten-year labor.
That labor began in 1896. At the time, the city directory shows, the city’s first hospital, St. Joseph’s (1883), was still the city’s only general hospital (although there were a few sanitariums and “medical institutes”).
So, in 1896 fifteen women of Trinity Episcopal Church (on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue at Hemphill Street) organized as the “Comfort Band” to raise funds to build a second hospital—tentatively named “Maria Hospital”—for patients who could pay and for patients who could not pay. By 1897 the Comfort Band had raised enough money to pay $400 ($12,000 today) for a lot beyond the city limits on Magnolia Avenue at Cleburne Road (8th Avenue today).
By 1900 the Comfort Band had become “All Saints Hospital Association.” That year the cornerstone of the new hospital finally was laid. The building was designed by architect Howard Messer.
But raising funds to finish the hospital building proved difficult as the new century progressed. So, the hospital association continued to hold benefits. By All Saints Day in 1906, as the hospital building finally neared completion, the association asked for donations of one penny (a penny would be twenty-seven cents today).
Some donors, of course, gave far more than a penny. One such donor was cereal magnate C. W. Post, a former Fort Worth resident, who endowed two rooms.
Meanwhile, as the hospital association raised funds to finish the hospital, the association in 1904 funded an emergency room at Fort Worth University’s medical college on East 5th Street at Calhoun Street downtown.
The city directory shows that other eleemosynary institutions at the time included Fort Worth Benevolent Home orphanage, located in the Samuels Avenue neighborhood in the former brothel of madam Frankie Brown; Texas Children’s Home and Aid Society in Poly at the corner of Avenue H and Vaughn Boulevard (Edna Gladney would become superintendent in 1927); and the Masonic Widows’ and Orphans’ Home, which had opened in 1899 southeast of town.
At long last All Saints was dedicated on December 27, 1906. Two days later the first patient was admitted.
The original All Saints Episcopal Hospital building was teensy by today’s standards: two stories measuring eighty-four by sixty-four feet with twenty-four beds.
In 1913 the little hospital that had been ten years in the making began to expand: A second building was built east of the original building. A second-story bridge connected the two buildings.
In 1914 the hospital association began raising funds for a nurses home, which was built on 8th Avenue in 1915. A tag day is a day when a charity collects donations and gives donors a tag to show that they contributed.
The second-story bridge can be seen in this 1924 photo. In 1926 a center section replaced the bridge. During World War II the nurses home was connected to the hospital and used for patient care.
Note the streetcar tracks. (Postcard from Barbara Love Logan.)
Remodeled All Saints Episcopal Hospital in the 1940s with the center section. In 1946 a fourth floor was added to the center section. (Photo by W. D. Smith.)
The late 1950s brought a major expansion—and relocation. In 1957 All Saints began raising funds again.
In 1958 construction of a nine-story, 365-bed hospital began on Enderly Place west of the original building. The new building opened in 1959.
All Saints Episcopal Hospital was torn down in the mid-1960s. Today the site is occupied by Magnolia Medical Tower.
In 2002 All Saints became “Baylor All Saints Medical Center,” part of the Baylor Health Care System. Today the system is “Baylor Scott & White.” More than a century after All Saints Episcopal Hospital began with one-cent donations, a ten-year labor, and twenty-four beds, the hospital today has almost six hundred beds and a “total medical staff” of thirteen hundred physicians.