(click to enlarge photos)
As I remember, the first question about local history that I was ever asked was. “What became of General Hospital?” While I did not know, yet I answered, “Has it changed channels?” I was, of course, alluding to the soap opera, General Hospital. The real Seattle General Hospital had its beginnings in 1895 when a group of women rallied for a second, and protestant, hospital for the city. After two earlier locations, the building in today’s photo opened in November of 1900.
In those early years of acting like a pubic historian, I was repeatedly asked questions about Seattle General. Someone in the enquirer’s family had been born there – or died there. So what became of Seattle General? Now I suspect that that commonplace curiosity was generated in part because after seventy years of serving on Fifth Avenue, directly across Marion Street from its spiritual and fiscal advisor, the First Methodist Church, this brick landmark was sold to the Bank of California for about one million dollars. After the patients were moved to the former Maynard Hospital on First Hill, demolition began on April 29, 1971. Soon the slender bank, which Jean shows in part with his repeat, took to the sky. And the old brick landmark? It was missed.
In October 1975 the governing boards of three Seattle hospitals – Doctors, Swedish and Seattle General – agreed to merge under the name Swedish Medical Center. To me, a Dane, the Scandinavian choice was a wise one, with connotations of competence, compassion and surely for some, strong broad-shouldered nurses with hair that reflected the sun. By now we know Swedish very well, but it seems, no one – or only a few – still ask about Seattle General.
It was once typical for local papers to report on the progress of patients, and through its many years, Seattle General garnered lots of news. For instance, in the Seattle Times for March 26, 1905, we learn under “Society”, that “Mrs. George B. McCulloch, who underwent a successful operation for appendicitis Tuesday, is at the Seattle General Hospital, where she will remain until convalesant.” News about celebrity appendectomies, like that on April 1, 1903, for Puget Mills owner E.G. Ames, were often headlined in bold type.
Concluding now with the other General Hospital, by now the oldest TV soap opera that is still breathing, perhaps due to its proximity to the latest in expensive life-support devices.
Anything to add, Paul? Surely
When Ron Edge gets up at his usual morning hour – around 5 – he will insert a few links that relate to the above feature on Seattle General. I’ll add a few subjects now (after midnight) but this week they will, I expect, be more about hospitals than Seattle General’s historical neighbors, which, you may have noticed and/or know, included the Lincoln Hotel, the Seattle Public Library, the First Methodist Church, the Rainier Club, the Elks Club, First Presbyterian Church, and certainly many others. I’ll work an hour or so but then pause to watch the last of 26 one hour episodes of the original and captioned Swedish serial Wallander.
PERRY HOTEL as COLUMBUS HOSPITAL, Southwest corner of BOREN & MADISON: Crossroads of FIRST HILL
From IDAHO to WAYSIDE
GENERAL HOSPITAL AMBITIONS of 1925
Now I’ll retreat from the blog and prepare for nighty-bears with the prelude of a Swedish mystery. Tomorrow I will return and add a few more health-related subjects. Thanks for your patience and other’s patients. (pause) Up at noon and here come the marines.
MARINE HOSPITAL (First)
SEATTLE: 1921-1940 From BOOM to BUST
By RICH BERNER
Here is a link to “Boom to Bust,” Volume 2 of Rich Berner’s grand trilogy, SEATTLE IN THE 20TH CENTURY. Volume 1 covers Seattle history from 1900 to 1920, and Volume 3 treats of Seattle in the 1940s. Earlier we posted on this blog Volume 1’s second edition, enriched with many additional illustrations. A similar treatment for Volume 2 is a work-in-progress. The link below thru the books’ cover is, however, a Ron Edge scanned facsimile of Boom to Bust in its original pagination as first published by Berner’s own Charles Press in 1992. Sometime this year (2014) we hope to start opening here, page-by-page, the grand illustrated edition of Volume 2. (We will let you know, of course.) For now, here is the Charles Press version, in time for the reader to study one of its primary figures, Seattle Mayor John Dore, nor featured below with the few photos following.
MAYOR JOHN DORE – HIGH (ABOVE) & LOW (BELOW)
The often gregarious and pugnacious Mayor John Dore was nearly always brilliant – or very smart. Mayor twice, first elected with Roosevelt in 1932, defeated by Charles L. Smith in 1934, then elected again in 1936, only to die in office in the spring of 1938, late in is term.
CITIZEN JOHN DORE: on the level.
In between his mayoral terms Dore returned to his vigorous lawyering. Here (above) he is featured in a Seattle Times collage acting as defense attorney for Margaret Waley, the 19-year old kidnap suspect, charged in the regionally sensational case of the baby Weyerhaeuser abduction. Facing him is assistant U.S. attorney Owen Hughes. To prepare for the assembly of this collage, almost certainly both lawyers were asked to pose twice, one with and once without demonstrative gestures. Hughes was given the gesture, and as it turned out won the case, to the relief of the accused, Mrs. Waley, who Dore described as tricked into the kidnapping by her husband, whom she, however, loved. The wife, however, feared that if she was found innocent, the case might be appealed by a federal prosecutor under a federal crime that might have demanded her execution. She was pleased with the guilty verdict, and also given a short sentence.
GOVERNOR MARTIN signs on for SOAP LAKE and BUERGER’S DISEASE
Selected from a Times caption in 1934: Three of the most prominent women of medicine in the Pacific Northwest met yesterday at the conference of the Northwest Hospital Association in Seattle. They are, left to right, Miss Carolyn Davis, first woman elected trustee of the American Hospital Association, and now superintendent of Good Samaritan Hospital, Portland: Miss May Loomis, for many years in charge of the Seattle City Hospital and now superintendent of the emergency department at Harborview: and Miss Evelyn Hall, now serving as nurses’ counselor at Harbor view after scores of years as superintendent of Seattle General Hospital.
21 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Seattle General Hospital”
THANKS! I was born in Seattle General, where my mother worked as a nurse, in 1948 (we moved back to Boston 3 months later because of my illness and her unease with the local Children’s Hospital then). My mother died in 1990, but she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania during WWII, got a note from my army father (who left U Pa to go to war), and took off on a train to meet him in Nevada. They were east coast kids and hadn’t seen each other for 2 years, so this was brave beyond belief. Ultimately they ended up in Seattle. I moved back in early 1989, and she visited that year. We tried to find the hospital, determining quickly that it was gone. But importantly, her OB was, according to her, either the first or at least one of the only women MDs in Seattle. My mother was a brilliant nurse, destined for greatness in medicine in a more woman-oriented era, perhaps. I would love to have the name of that OB!
I too was born at Seattle General Hospital in 1944. Might be fun for you to do a series on old hospitals and what has become of them – Children’s started on QA Hill, Swedish and Overlake and Evergreen and Northwest and others have grown like topsy. Cabrini is gone! Providence now a part of Swedish.
I’m a Seattle Native born at Maynard Hospital in 1941 (also a bit Danish). Was Maynard Hospital also wrapped into Swedish? I enjoy your articles each week; thank you.
Jane. Maynard Hospital sold in 1971 and became General until 1980. See my Maynard Hospital facebook page if you like. Mark
Jane. Maynard Hospital sold and became Seattle General in 1971 until 1980. You can see my Maynard facebook page if you like. Mark
Mark, I’m confused. What are you saying is the relationship between Maynard and Seattle General?
This isn’t so much a reply to Ms. Crandall’s comment as it is a convenient way of sharing information. I worked at the Bank of California for a number of years, including the duration of the last major rebuild. On the corner of 5th and Marion, there was a bronze plaque, a historical marker commemorating the site, the location of Seattle General Hospital. I managed to remove the plaque and store it in the building during the reconstruction. There was no interest within management of re-mounting the plaque and detracting from their ‘new look’. It is still in storage, and perhaps this will provide incentive to re-mount the plaque.
The other was that the building staff knew of the hospital, and tales would abound about how the BOC was haunted. The last item is that the Bank of California building was the second high-rise constructed in Seattle, by a consortium of developers led by Bagley Wright. I also managed to preserved the original documents regarding this development, in case there is some historical interest and a place to put them. Jeff Slaker
I, too, was born in Seattle General Hospital, July 5, 1930; and one brother was born there in 1931. For a brief time I worked in the Bank of California Building during the late 80’s….sort of a ‘homecoming’. Thanks for the story and hospital’s photo.
PS. A register of births at Seattle General is located at the Museum of History and Industry if one wants to research a birth.
Janet (Kueckelhan) Vincent
Great to know, Janet. Hope doc’s name is included with my birth record. Thanks.
I too was born at Seattle General Hospital in Feb 1949. That was interesting info Janet about the birth registry. Will have to check that out. I don’t have my original birth certificate and the copies now don’t have much info on them. Thank you
I was born at Seattle General Hospital in 1950; weighed 1 pound, 11 oz. Lucky girl
Me again. I just found a document (looking through home copies of saved records). Woman doc who delivered me was M.K. Connolly, MD. I can’t find anything about her. Anyone? Maybe, if she was indeed the only or one of the first woman docs in Seattle, we need to find/write something up about her.
Did you ever find out anything more, about your OB doc? Was perusing this page, as I had started my nursing career as a nurses aide @ Seattle General in 1972. Being a genealogy buff, I did a search for M.K. Connolly, MD on Ancestry. She is listed there under several 1950s City Directories: Mary K. Connolly, MD.
I did not find anything in her, and confess to not having tried in a long time. Any ideas how to go about it? New search methods and ancestry sites might help more now.
Thanks for this.
PS I live now in downtown Seattle and smile when I bus past the hospital location.
Christine, it appears she died in 1965, at a rather young age (in her late 40s.). Have not been able to pull much more of her Seattle era, besides her full name: Mary Kay Connolly. First noted in City Directories in 1941, office eventually downtown in Med-Dent Bldg on Olive.
Her 1941 application to practice medicine shows up @ digital archives.wa.gov; under Professional Licenses. Ok, now write that novel!
Hahahahahaha. I wish! Like I wish I could talk to my nurse mother about it. Thanks, Marcia.
I was born in Seattle General Hospital 1950. I remember my mother telling me about the nurses calling me Rosebud because my hair was black and my cheeks were rosy red. My mother remembers some lady in the hospital about 40 years of age and having her first baby which was a boy on the same day of my birth. She thought it was odd that a woman 40 years of age was having her first baby. She even remembered the doctor not being there at the time I was born and I was coming out so quickly that the nurses were holding me back which shut off some of the oxygen to my brain. Her doctor back then was dr. Duncan
I worked in Medical Records from 1963 through 1965! Was in the big earthquake of April of 1965! That old building really rocked and rolled! There were some really old patient files in the basement next to the morgue! Very scary going down to get them!
Thnx for Seattle history. I worked as a pathology-report typist at Seattle General for approx. a year & was let go just before it was torn down (1971). But knowing it was 2b torn down, I took the pencil sharpener with me & still have it.
I was born in Doctors Hospital in 1966. Never knew where it was. Thanks for all the research.