Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Friday, February 28, 2014 at 10:13 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (1)
  • Print

1971: When Seattle General Hospital lost its life support

It had its beginnings in 1895 when a group of women rallied on behalf of creating a second, Protestant, hospital for the city.


Special to The Seattle Times

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
I remember the hospital well, they had elevator operators....!! I believe it was 68 or... MORE

advertising

The first local-history question I remember being asked nearly 40 years ago was, “What became of General Hospital?”

I did not know, yet I answered, “Has it changed channels?” I was, of course, alluding to the TV soap opera, “General Hospital.”

The real Seattle General Hospital had its beginnings in 1895 when a group of women rallied on behalf of creating a second, Protestant, hospital for the city. After operating at two other locations, the hospital opened in November 1900 in the building pictured here, on Fifth Avenue.

In those days, local papers would report on the progress of patients, and Seattle General garnered lots of news. For instance, in The Seattle Times of March 26, 1905, we learn that “Mrs. George B. McCulloch, who underwent a successful operation for appendicitis Tuesday, is at the Seattle General Hospital, where she will remain until convalescent.” News about celebrity appendectomies, like that on April 1, 1903, for Puget Mills owner E.G. Ames, were often headlined in bold type.

But after 70 years of serving on Fifth, directly across Marion Street from its spiritual and fiscal adviser, the First Methodist Church, this brick landmark was sold to the Bank of California for about $1 million. Patients were moved to the former Maynard Hospital on First Hill, and demolition began on April 29, 1971. Soon the slender bank, which can be seen in part in the repeat, took to the sky. And the old brick landmark? It was missed, and in those early years I was asked about it often.

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 and compassion. By now we know Swedish very well, but it seems no one — or only a few — still asks about Seattle General.

As for the other “General Hospital,” it is the oldest TV soap opera still breathing.

Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard’s blog at www.pauldorpat.com.



News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Homes -- New Home Showcase

Urban townhomes offer space and convenience

Urban townhomes offer space and convenience


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►