A History of Huntington Hospital
For over 120 years, Huntington Memorial Hospital has been at the center of the San Gabriel Valley community, committed to providing the highest quality healthcare and emergency services to the region. Only six years younger than Pasadena itself, Huntington Hospital has grown with the community it serves. Today, we continue to enhance the services and programs that make us the caregiver of choice for the communities in the San Gabriel Valley. Through depression and boom, war and peace, in good times and in bad, Huntington Hospital has been every step of the way.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, living in Pasadena meant foregoing some of the conveniences of modern life. For anyone requiring treatment for serious illness or injury, Los Angeles offered the closest up-to-date medical facilities, and so for the appropriate medical care, San Gabriel Valley residents often had to endure a long, bumpy ride in a Southern Pacific baggage car.
In February of 1892, a group of prominent local citizens decided that their community needed a local medical facility. They formed the Pasadena Hospital Association, and several years later a nonprofit hospital was opened for service.
In 1900, a committee was appointed to raise funds to build and endow a permanent hospital building. The committee’s task was made much simpler when Mrs. Caroline Walkley, a local resident, donated a plot of land on which to build the proposed facility. Two years later, at a cost of $21,000, the 26-bed Pasadena Hospital opened on the present site of Huntington Hospital.
When the Great Depression hit, many hospitals and other businesses across the country were forced to shut down. Pasadena Hospital also felt the pinch and faced an uncertain future themselves, but in 1936, a $2 million gift from the estate of Henry E. Huntington allowed the hospital not only to survive, but to thrive. The funds were used to build a new main building, clear all hospital debts, and provide service and parking facilities. Pasadena Hospital took on the Huntington name and the Huntington Trust was established and continues today to support the hospital's vital work to the community.
After World War II, new wings provided space for modern maternity and surgical services and gifts from generous donors helped further enhance the hospital in subsequent years. In 1958, for example, Huntington Hospital built one of the country's first intensive care units thanks to the generosity of William Wingate, who left his entire estate to the hospital. Originally believed to be a gift of $500,000, the estate was ultimately found to include a stock portfolio worth over $5,000,000!
The years from 1963 to 1973 marked a period of unprecedented growth, as Huntington Hospital engaged in more new construction than during any other period of its history. The Edward Valentine Building, built in 1971, housed state-of-the-art cardiac diagnostic and radiology facilities. In 1973, erection of the Herbert Hahn Building allowed for the addition of 97 modern hospital beds. Also during this period, the emergency department was expanded, the 20,000-volume Health Sciences Library was opened, and the first open-heart surgery in the west San Gabriel Valley was performed here at Huntington Hospital.
In 1986, Huntington Hospital commenced an important campaign to raise funds for the replacement of older facilities on its campus. The process known as the Campaign for Huntington Hospital consisted of three major phases of construction: Phase I— completed in 1990 —involved construction of the first two floors of a five-story East Tower. In the summer of 1997, Phase II construction began, following an outpouring of financial support from local organizations and individuals. This phase involved adding three further stories to the construction completed in Phase I.
The resulting five-story patient care tower, opened in 1998, now provides state-of-the-art care in a highly accessible structure that meets medical, seismic and safety requirements. The tower is known as the Hale East Tower, named in honor Carmen and Charles Hale because of their extraordinarily generous gift pledge made in the form of a charitable lead trust. This gift will ultimately provide more than $8 million in funding toward the Huntington Cancer Centers' comprehensive diagnostic, treatment, education, emotional support and research activities.
The third phase of the master facility plan was completed in December 2007. The West Tower is a ground + five-story patient care tower which houses a brand new pharmacy, clinical laboratory and beautiful cafeteria in addition 128 private patient rooms. Medical-surgical, oncology and telemetry-monitored patients will be cared for in the West Tower, as well as those on the direct observation unit (DOU).
In 2008, Huntington Hospital broke ground on the Emergency Department (ED) Expansion Project, which upon completion will add 20,000 square feet to the ED essentially doubling its capacity to provide emergency patient care. Originally designed to accommodate 30,000 patient visits each year, the ED has been averaging closer to 60,000 visits. With this expansion, the bed capacity will be increased from 21 beds to 50, and the facility will be able to accommodate up to 90,000 patient visits each year.
Huntington Hospital is proud of its history of providing advanced, accessible and affordable healthcare to the people of the San Gabriel Valley. As our friends and neighbors rely on us for their medical care we, too rely on them for support in the form of financial contributions and voluntary service. Together we promote a safe and healthy future for our own generation, and for the generations to come.