Hospitals After St. Joseph’s: Benefits, Bealls, and Baby Davy (Part 1)

Turn with me now, if you will, to pages 130 and 131 of the city directory of the year 1924.

hospitals top 24 cd adThese 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.

ASH 96 cd hospitals

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”).

ASH 97 mariaSo, 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.

ASH 02-06 benefitsBut 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).

ASH 07 postSome 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.

ASH 05-06 cd hospitalsMeanwhile, 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.

ASH 07 first patientAt long last All Saints Hospital was dedicated on December 27, 1906. Two days later the first patient was admitted.

ASH 07 openThe 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.

ASH 14 nurses homeIn 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.)

ASH top in 24The 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 at the intersection of Magnolia and 8th avenues. (Postcard from Barbara Love Logan.)

ASH 40s smithRemodeled 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.)

ASH 57 expansion plansThe late 1950s brought a major expansion—and relocation. In 1957 All Saints began raising funds again.

ASH 58 photo new hospitalIn 1958 construction of a nine-story, 365-bed hospital began on Enderly Place west of the original building. The new building opened in 1959.

ASH google todayAll 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,” the hospital is “Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center—Fort Worth.” 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.

Hospitals After St. Joseph’s: Benefits, Bealls, and Baby Davy (Part 2)

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8 Responses to Hospitals After St. Joseph’s: Benefits, Bealls, and Baby Davy (Part 1)

  1. German says:

    Would you happen to have some information on the West Texas Maternity Hospital? I am working on a project for the present-day Daggett Montessori School, and we are missing a lot of information.

    • Unfortunately the author of this site and its content passed away last year. This site will remain as a resource in some form or fashion – as I am looking into a long term solution for this. Sorry I cant be of any help.

  2. Eric Stauch says:

    I have been given an old telephone switchboard that was said to have come from All Saint’s hospital. Does anyone have any info on when this old switchboard might have been installed (it’s a wood, operator-operated manual type with lots of plug-in cables, rotary dial, etc)?

  3. Eric Stauch says:

    Very interesting! I recently acquired a PBX switchboard that was used at some point in the hospital’s history from the son of the original PBX operator! I am trying to establish when the switchboard was built and installed: my guess is sometime between 1925-1935. The son will provide me with her name and approximate dates in the future! -restoration in work………..

  4. Jennifer Cox says:

    Found this treasure of information while searching for the hospital my great grandmother died in in 1947. What an interesting piece of history you’ve compiled. Thank you!

    • hometown says:

      Thank you, Jennifer. My parents and I were either born in, worked in, or died in some of those hospitals.

  5. Stephen Eisner says:

    Just happened upon this site today, looking for info on Cox Bend (on the Brazos). What a treasure trove of stories. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication.

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Stephen. I guess you found my only post that mentions Cox’s Bend–R. E. Cox stores.

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