The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Sacred Heart Hospital

See also the Chronicles of Sacred Heart Hospital.

Medford May Get Hospital.

    MEDFORD, Or., April 9.--(Special.)--Father Van Clarenbeck says that if the city of Medford will donate five acres of ground and $10,000, the Sisters of Providence will expend $90,000 on a hospital at this place. As Medford has no large hospital, it is more than possible that the request of the Sisters will be granted. If so, construction will begin in August and will be completed by the first of next year.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, April 10, 1910, page 6

    Father Van Clarenbeek has received word from Sister Wenceslaus, of the St. Vincent's Hospital, Portland, that she and the Mother Provincial will arrive in Medford Monday evening for the purpose of passing upon the site selected to erect a large hospital upon for Medford.
    For several years, efforts have been made to induce the Catholic orders to erect a large hospital here for the use of southern Oregon generally. A site has been selected on the hills east of the city, and it is hoped that now the looking to the erection of a large structure will be undertaken.
    The Mother Provincial has made several visits here for the purpose of considering this as a hospital site, but has never seen the location decided upon.
Medford Mail Tribune weekly, August 25, 1910, page 2

    Formal endorsement of the proposal of the Sisters of Providence to erect a $100,000 hospital in Medford, on condition of a $10,000 bonus being raised, was unanimously given by the Medford Commercial Club Wednesday evening, and a committee composed of Drs. Pickel, Porter, Conroy, Reddy and G. Putnam was appointed to undertake the raising of the necessary fund.
    The proposition made by the Mother Provincial was presented by Dr. Pickel. The Sisters agree to construct a $100,000 hospital containing 75 beds for patients, in addition to nearly as many hospital attendants, providing $10,000 is raised to purchase a site. The Sisters desire several acres of ground with a dwelling house upon it in which a temporary hospital will be opened at once, and in which the Sisters will reside while superintending the construction of a hospital. Three or four sites are under consideration in various parts of the town, among them being the George Lindley residence, with five acres of ground.
    Dr. Pickel stated that this would be the largest hospital in the state outside of Portland. He enumerated the many advantages that would accrue to the community from having such a hospital, and urged that the club do its utmost to aid the enterprise as one of the most worthy ever presented to the club members. Dr. Porter spoke along the same line, as did several other speakers.
    It was brought out during the discussion that the subscription money raised to secure St. Mary's Academy had never been paid, through some mixup of the local committee who had the matter in charge, and that notwithstanding they had never received the promised bonus, the Sisters nevertheless went ahead and constructed the academy.
Medford Mail Tribune weekly, September 1, 1910, page 6

Medford Raises $5000 Towards New $100,000 Building.
    MEDFORD, Or., Sept. 1.--(Special.)--Five thousand dollars has been raised in Medford during the past two days to go towards the $100,000 hospital which the Sisters of Providence are planning to erect in the town.
    The mother provincial has promised to build the hospital if a $10,000 site is furnished as a bonus by the people of Medford.
    The collecting committee consists of Drs. E. B. Pickel, Conroy, Porter and Reedy and George Putnam.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, September 2, 1910, page 1

    In accordance with the request of the Sisters of Providence, who selected the site, the hospital committee of the Medford Commercial Club Saturday made the initial payment and purchased from J. E. Woodruff the south half of Nob Hill, consisting of about two and a half acres, as a site for the proposed $100,000 hospital, which the Sisters have agreed to erect and maintain upon the payment of a $10,000 bonus asked from the people of Medford.
    Part of the first payment of the subscriptions pledged has been collected, and the committee individually went security for the balance of the $3000 paid, as it was necessary to act at once. The cost of the site is $7000, and the remainder of the subsidy is to be paid in cash. Not enough money has yet been subscribed, but the committee hopes to secure it during the coming week, as well as collect the first payments on the subscriptions already secured.
    The site was originally selected by Archbishop Christie two years ago and is ideally situated, commanding a superb view of the entire valley. The hospital, when erected, can be seen from every part of the valley and is in full view of all passing trains, and will of itself be a considerable advertisement. It is conveniently situated and close to the city.
    Eight thousand three hundred and seventy-eight dollars is the total amount of subscriptions secured to date to the $10,000 bonus required to secure the hospital. This leaves $1622 still to secure, and the patriotism of the citizens is appealed to, to secure the needed amount.
Medford Mail Tribune weekly, September 15, 1910, page 1

Work Will Start Early in Spring on Institution Costing Between $75,000 and $100,000--
Site to Be Tendered by the City.
    The Sisters of Charity of Providence, who conduct St. Vincent's Hospital in Portland and many other large hospitals, have agreed to erect a 75-room hospital which will entail an investment of from $75,000 to $100,000 in Medford in consideration of a $10,000 bonus. Work will begin in the spring, or as soon as conditions are complied with.
    The Commercial Club appointed a soliciting committee, which secured pledges of approximately $9000. Additional subscriptions are requested to raise the amount demanded. Of these subscriptions, $3000 has been paid, and with it the committee purchased the south half of Nob Hill, the most sightly location in the valley, as a site for the hospital, agreeing to pay $7000 for two acres. The site had already been approved both by the sisters and by Archbishop Christie. The remaining amount will be paid by the committee as subscriptions are collected.
    As the sisters are considering the erection of a hospital at East Portland, subscribers are requested to pay the portion of subscriptions due at once so that deed may be delivered for the site.
    The following is the offer made the Commercial Club:
                    "St. Vincent's Hospital,
            "To the Soliciting Committee of the Medford Commercial Club,
    "Gentlemen: The Sisters of Charity of Providence propose to erect a hospital, capacity for 75 beds, in the city of Medford, Or., on the following conditions:
    "A free site, with no encumbrance; abstract and deed to be in possession of sisters before work on building is commenced.
    "Cost determined for said hospital site, $10,000. The surplus over cost of said property to revert as a fund with which to commence foundation.
    "Free water for at least twenty years.
    "Free light, or, if impossible, light to be furnished at flat rates.
    "Respectfully submitted,
        "Sister M. of Nazareth."
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1911, page 2

    Members of the committee from the Commercial Club who secured promises of subscriptions to the amount of $10,000 with which to assist in the construction of a new Sisters' hospital in this city are now engaged in gathering in the money.
    If the collections keep up at the present rate, it is believed that the money will all be in by the end of next week.
    Work will begin on the new structure as soon after as possible.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 15, 1911, page 1

    The Big Pines Lumber Company has secured the contract for the lumber to be used in the new hospital being constructed on Nob Hill. Twenty-one carloads of lumber are contracted for. F. L. Litherland of Portland, who has the contract for the building, let the contract Thursday. Immediate shipment is asked and the framework will be erected as soon as the material arrives. Excavation for the building is almost completed, and the foundation will be laid very shortly.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 16, 1911, page 2

Work of Excavating for Foundation Is Progressing Slowly
Owing to the Nature of the Formation--Institution Given Name.
    Work is progressing very rapidly on the excavation for the 100-room Sacred Heart hospital which is being erected in this city by the Sisters of Providence on Nob Hill. The [rock] formation is a peculiar one and has held the contractors back to some extent as if the material seems too hard to pick and yet not solid enough to use powder to advantage.
    Many brick have been delivered on the ground preparatory to starting the walls. The foundation will soon be laid.
    The Mother Provincial of the Sisters of Providence has settled upon the name "Sacred Heart" for the new institution, and by this appellation it will be known in the future.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 25, 1911, page 8

Albany Priest Transferred.
    ALBANY, Or., Oct. 1.--(Special.)--Rev. Father J. A. Van Nevel, who has served for several months as assistant rector of the Albany parish of the Catholic Church, has been transferred to Medford, where he will be chaplain of the new hospital there.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, October 2, 1911, page 12

February 18, 1912 Sunday Oregonian
February 18, 1912 Sunday Oregonian

Sacred Heart Hospital, June 22, 1913 Sunday Oregonian
 June 22, 1913 Sunday Oregonian

January 1, 1914 Medford Mail Tribune
January 1, 1914 Medford Mail Tribune

    The graduating exercises of the Sacred Heart Hospital were held at the St. Mark's Hall last evening. Dr. E. B. Pickel gave the opening address, which proved a most appropriate one. The diplomas were presented by Dr. Emmens, and the presentation of the medals was made by Dr. R. J. Conroy. Followed by a varied musical program, the closing address was made by the Right Rev. Alexander Christie. A song by Herbert Alford was much enjoyed. Two hundred people attended the exercises. The graduating nurses are: Misses Angelina Provost of Ashland, Miss Adalyn Hamlin of this city and Miss Mary K. Barba of Little Shasta, Cal.
Medford Sun, June 9, 1915, page 6

    The forum luncheon of the Chamber of Commerce which was held at the Hotel Medford this noon was unusually well attended. Three new songs were introduced by official song leader Millard and two of them went very satisfactorily.
    Dr. E. B. Pickel acted as chairman and introduced the speaker, Father George B. Thompson of Portland, who delivered a concise, interesting and instructive address on the standardization of hospitals, pointing out the numerous advantages that standardization holds for the public and for the medical profession. He urged that progressive Medford citizens augment the helpful spirit which the sisters of the district Sacred Heart Hospital, situated in this city, are displaying in setting aside a part of the hospital for a public dispensary and that local physicians on the visiting staff of the hospital cooperate in the diagnosis of cases where surgery seems a necessity, without any extra charge to the patient for the services of the physician who is called in consultation.
"Standardization of Hospitals Is Topic at Forum," Medford Mail Tribune, October 26, 1921, page 3

    The Sacred Heart Hospital is one of the largest in Southern Oregon, is a very imposing fireproof structure which may be seen from the business part of the city and the valley around, is located on high ground in the eastern part of Medford. It was constructed in 1911 at an expense of $145,000, exclusive of furnishings and equipment, and served the needs of a large territory in Oregon and California.
    The structure has five stories in the main building and four in the wings, and afford over 100 beds in the several wards and private rooms. Laboratory and x-ray equipment is very complete, and a staff of fourteen Medford and Southern Oregon doctors and surgeons affiliate with the hospital, which is also open to visiting surgeons and doctors.
    Completely detached as far as personal contact goes is an isolation ward, complete in itself with a kitchen and other necessary sick room requirements.
    The hospital conducts a training school for nurses.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1928, page F8

    The Sacred Heart Hospital has again been named a Class A hospital, according to information received today, and is an honor in which the hospital has shared ever since standards were set by the American College of Surgeons a number of years ago. The hospital is regarded as one of the most up-to-date on the Pacific Coast and is well known throughout Southern Oregon for its efficiency. The honor recognition was made by the National Hospital Council.
    The standards include many technical points, covering a wide range of hospitalization. The Sacred Heart Hospital was constructed in 1911 and has been furnished with the latest equipment throughout. It has a nurses' training school, regarded as one of the best in the state, and its staff includes some of the best-known physicians and surgeons in Southern Oregon.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 1, 1929, page 3

    A petition for the improvement of Florence Street, running off East Main Street to the Sacred Heart Hospital, may soon be circulated in view of the poor condition in which the street has been for years past. Local and out-of-town residents who have occasion to use the street often declare it is one of the roughest in Medford, with holes and rocks continually bouncing automobiles and their occupants going up or down the hill to the hospital.
    The condition of the road has been pointed out as being particularly harmful to patients. This is said to be especially true where patients must have absolutely level riding.
    The road around the hospital was paved with concrete last summer by the hospital, leaving improvement work to be done by the city on several hundred yards of Florence Street.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 22, 1929, page 10

Sacred Heart Laboratory Directed by Dr. Inskeep
Among Best in State

    Regarded as one of the most important reasons why the Sacred Heart Hospital is rated as a Class A hospital by the American College of Surgeons is the well-equipped laboratory operated by that institution under the direction of Dr. L. D. Inskeep, who is given the credit for bringing the laboratory to its present high efficiency during the last two or three years.
    In active charge of the laboratory is Dimitri Bulovitin, assisted by his sister, Nina, both of whom are well versed in the numerous tests that are made there daily. The present equipment is on a part with any Class A hospital in the state, of which there are but three outside of Portland. The apparatus is sufficient to make the usual run of hospital tests and do contagious work and has proven of benefit to every member of the staff of physicians.
    One of the most interesting pieces of apparatus in the laboratory is a haemoglobinometer, used for determining the amount of oxygen-carrying red material in the blood. Another piece of equipment is the haemocytometer, with which blood counts are made and perhaps used more often than other apparatus in the laboratory. A micro-Kjeldahl distillation apparatus often used in the estimation of blood and urine. A bubbling apparatus is also used for the estimation of the blood urea.
    Cutting slices as thin as one-five-thousandth of an inch is the work of the microtome, which operates in conjunction with a freezing apparatus that can reach the low temperature of 70 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. It is found useful in the examination of tissue and is used particularly in the examination of appendixes, the removal of which constitutes a large percentage of the major operations performed at the hospital.
    The microtome has a cutting edge keener than any razor and operates best when the material to be cut is frozen on the cutting base by the very low temperature caused by the use of carbonic acid gas. The small slices are stained and given careful examination underneath the laboratory microscope which has an adjustable magnifying power up to 800 diameters.
    A basal metabolic machine is another important piece of laboratory apparatus and is used for determining thyroid disturbances. Apparatus for water baths in making blood tests is important, as well as a colormeter, used for comparing bloods and solutions. A centrifuge, capable of going hundreds of revolutions per minute, is put to use in separating sediments from liquids in making various tests.
    A culture incubator, making possible the growth of bacteria, is in operation most of the time, with the machine maintaining a steady body heat. The laboratory is also equipped with an icebox in which are kept the hospital supply of culture tubes and vaccines.
    The laboratory is located on the fifth floor of the hospital and is one of the busiest rooms in the institution. Through the gradual application of efforts and realization of plans, sisters of the hospitals have developed, together with Dr. L. D. Inskeep and his assistants, one of the most complete laboratories of its kind in Oregon, making the Sacred Heart Hospital stand out as one of the outstanding institutions in the state.
    The hospital has been located in Medford for nearly 20 years on a knoll on the east side of the city and is one of the most familiar landmarks in Southern Oregon. The sisters of the hospital last summer completed pavement around the building from Florence Street and have been making continual improvements in the entire institution.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 30, 1929, page 2

    The installation of a new operating table, the latest in design, was completed this week in the surgery of the Sacred Heart Hospital, in keeping with an improvement program that has been begun by that institution. The new table, manufactured by the Scanlon-Morris Co., of Madison, Wis., has every possible attachment for facilitating major operations.
    It has a special attachment for thyroid operations, holding the neck in position, and it has a saddle, used in holding the patient in certain positions when kidney or gall bladder operations are performed. By the manipulation of several pedals and a crank or two, the table can be placed in any position, holding the head of the patient high or low, or the same with the feet. Attachments also make it possible to take care of patients taller than six feet, and to hold patients in place by wrist and leg straps and by a shoulder device.
    There is an instrument board directly over the patient and it remains level through all stages of the operation, though the table may be in a tilted position. This is pointed out as being of special benefit to the attending surgeons. A new machine for the administration of gas has also been installed in the surgery, but is not used often, ether being in more popular use.
    The old operating table has been moved to an emergency surgery, where it will still find considerable use. The third surgery of the hospital is used principally for the performance of minor operations, such as the removal of tonsils. It is thoroughly equipped with a table, chairs and an imposing array of operating instruments. A complete x-ray laboratory is also located on the surgery floor and is in considerable use. The hospital laboratory, described some time ago, is on the same floor.
    A modernly equipped washroom for surgeons is nearby and includes lockers for the following: Dr. W. R. Adams, Dr. R. W. Clancy, Dr. J. J. Emmens, Dr. W. W. D. Holt, Dr. L. D. Inskeep, Dr. A. F. W. Kresse, Dr. E. B. Pickel, Dr. R. W. Poellnitz, Dr. R. W. Sleeter, Dr. Charles T. Sweeney, Dr. F. G. Thayer, Dr. James C. Hayes, and others.
    In addition to attending patients at the hospital, the doctors often give lectures before the members of the Sacred Heart Hospital nurses' training school of over a dozen students, and recognized as one of the best of the state. Many graduate nurses have received their training there.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 18, 1929, page 8

    The recent installation of new x-ray apparatus brings to completion an extensive improvement program the Sacred Heart Hospital planned for its surgery and laboratory departments on the fifth floor. The x-ray apparatus is the latest procurable and is under the supervision of Miss Katherine Bulovitin, who took a special course in Portland to carry on the work.
    The new equipment replaces that which had been used for a number of years and is complete in every detail. It is capable of taking large and small pictures and includes a fluoroscope for examinations where pictures are not desired.
    The x-ray department is located on the same floor as the surgery, where a new operating table of late design and sterilizers were added this year. The laboratory, in charge of Dimitri Bulovitin, and supervised by Dr. L. D. Inskeep, is located on the same floor.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 8, 1930, page 5

    The Community Hospital and the Sacred Heart Hospital of this city are among the hospitals of the United States given highest standing by the American Medical Association, according to the telegram received today from Boston, Mass.
    One nursing school of this city, presumed to be the Sacred Heart Hospital nursing school, is also listed as one receiving national recognition of the American Medical Association.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 2, 1931, page 8

    Included in the names of hospitals in Oregon which investigators for the American College of Surgeons, Chicago, have placed on their list as meeting the requirements ensuring safe and efficient service to the patient, is that of the Sacred Heart Hospital.
    The list of approved hospitals was announced this morning at the fourteenth annual conference of the college, being conducted in New York City. The organization represents approximately 10,000 leading surgeons of the United States, Canada and other countries.
    Dr. Charles T. Sweeney of this city, who is attending the convention, will receive the fellowship degree of the college while in New York.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 12, 1931, page 6

Catholic Hospital Here Changes Name
    The first single-care-unit hospital to be constructed in the United States, now nearing completion on Crater Lake Avenue and McAndrews Road, will be known as "Providence Hospital, Medford."
    This announcement was made today jointly by Sister Carmelina, FCSP, administrator, and R. B. Thierolf, chairman of the hospital's lay advisory board.
    The name Sacred Heart Hospital, which has designated the hospital operated here since 1912 by the Sisters of Charity of Providence, is being retired for several reasons, Thierolf explained. One of the chief ones is to avoid confusion with Sacred Heart Hospital, Eugene, and Sacred Heart Church in Medford, which has been experienced in record keeping and mailing.
Dedication Dates
    The new hospital will be dedicated Feb. 5 and 6 if tentative plans materialize, Thierolf stated. The official renaming will taken place then. The new 89-bed hospital will be dedicated during a special outdoor ceremony.
    Sister Carmelina said that the present hospital on Siskiyou Heights will retain the name Sacred Heart until it is closed in February.
    The other major reason for the name change is to comply with the standardization program now under way. The Sister of Charity of Providence, who administer the hospital, are in the process of standardizing the names of their 14 hospitals in Oregon, California, Washington and Alaska. Many of these institutions are now known as Providence Hospital.
    The name change was suggested to the Sisters by the 21-member lay advisory board. The board members stated that the move of the hospital to the new site on Crater Lake Avenue provided the idea opportunity to make the change.
Opening of Cornerstone
    Another ceremony of interest to the general public will take place Jan. 4 when the cornerstone is removed from Sacred Heart Hospital and opened. Some of the contents are believed to predate the 1911 construction of Sacred Heart Hospital and to tell the story of medical care in Medford.
    These records will be transferred to the cornerstone of Providence Hospital, Medford, at the dedication ceremonies in February. The ceremonies are being planned by the advisory board. The hospital will be opened to the public during the February weekend, and guided tours of the new facilities will be provided by the hospital auxiliary. It is anticipated that it will be in full-scale operation within a week after the dedication, Thierolf stated.
Lighted Cross
    Sister Carmelina estimated that the hospital is now more than 95 percent complete, and the cross atop the four-story building will be lighted this Christmas season as a symbol of thanksgiving.
    The announcement meeting was attended by Paul Haviland, general chairman of the finance drive, who stated that $800,000 has been raised for the $2,630,000 hospital. Also present was Mrs. John L. Mansfield, president of Providence Guild, which is planning the gift shop to be established in the new hospital.
    While there is a private room hospital now in operation in Carmel, Calif., spokesmen for the local hospital construction explained, it is not a "single care unit" hospital. The single care units are smaller than private rooms, and the cost remains at the same level of hospitals operated under the ward system.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 15, 1965, page 1

Hospital Cornerstone Opened, Historical Contents Viewed
    The cornerstone of Sacred Heart Hospital on Siskiyou Heights, embedded in the brick structure Nov. 16, 1911, was opened yesterday and its contents viewed and read at a luncheon held in the hospital conference room.
    The contents will be resealed and placed in the cornerstone of the new Providence Hospital, Medford, to be dedicated March 12 on Crater Lake Avenue and McAndrews Road.
    An old medicine bottle containing the official report of the blessing of the cornerstone by the Rev. Joseph M. O'Farrell, pastor of the Medford parish in 1911, was opened by Sister Carmelina, F.C.S.P., hospital administrator, and R. B. Thierolf, chairman of the hospital's lay advisory board.
    The letter, written in French in keeping with the tradition of the order of Sisters of Charity of Providence, established in Montreal, Canada, was translated by Sister Rose Lucille, head dietitian.
Pius X Was Pope
    Pope Pius X, now St. Pius X, was then the pope of the Roman Catholic Church. The hospital was accepted by Archbishop Christie of the Portland Diocese at the request of the Rev. Van Clarenbeck. A hospital had been operated in Medford since 1909 under the direction of the secular nurses in a [former] residence, which continued to serve as a hospital until June 7, 1911.
    R. F. Tegan of Portland was architect for the new brick structure in 1911. The first five sisters to operate the hospital were Sister Praxedes of Providence, superior; Sister Pascal, Sister Wilhelmina, Sister Joseph Copertino and Sister Girard.
    Members of the Provincial Council were listed in the letter. One of them, Sister Mary Crescence, secretary-treasurer, is now living in St. Joseph residence, Seattle.
    W. H. Canon was mayor of Medford, the cornerstone contents revealed, and the Rev. Van Nevel was chaplain of the hospital.
    The bottle was sealed with heavy red sealing wax, and it contained with the letters and historical notes a number of medals, including that of Pope Pius X, and other religious mementos and holy cards.
Name Scribbled on Card
    Scribbled in pencil on the back of the architect's card was that of the bricklayer who enclosed the cornerstone.
    An inch-high statue of the Blessed Virgin was so worn that the face was missing. One card carried the message "Please pray for Sister Margaret." A memento, woven of palm leaves, requested that the "Sacred Heart protect the hospital for the ensuing years." Sister Carmelina assured the luncheon guests that this request has "truly been granted."
    Guests from out of town for the occasion were John P. Greeley, Seattle, director of developments for Sisters of Providence, and J. William Tobin, public relations director for the order.
    The present hospital will retain the name Sacred Heart until the new hospital is opened.
    The official renaming will take place when the new 89-bed hospital is dedicated March 12.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 5, 1966, page 11
January 5, 1966 Medford Mail Tribune
January 5, 1966 Medford  Mail Tribune
January 5, 1966 Medford Mail Tribune

History of Sacred Heart Hospital Is Reviewed
    In 1910, a committee of physicians, headed by Dr. R. J. Conroy and Dr. R. W. Clancy (names recalled by all who passed this way during the first quarter of the twentieth century), petitioned Mother Mary of Nazareth, Provincial Superior of the Sisters of Charity of Providence in Portland, to found a hospital in the "growing town of Medford."
    The Rogue River Valley was then flush with the opulence of the fruit boom. Eastern money was rolling in to prime the spending pump, and the influences of a New England culture were arousing memories of civilities almost forgotten in the struggle to develop a community.
    Appreciation of the protection and advancement of health, which in the 1960s has brought recognition to this area as a medical center, was stirring in the lay as well as the medical mind.
Reply Favorable
    The reply of the Sisters of Providence to the petition and the personal insistence of the promoters was favorable. In May 1911, Sister Praxedes of Providence, builder and first Superior of the Order, arrived in Medford and took over the John Cox home at the corner of South Central and 11th Street, where a sign already read "Southern Oregon Hospital." With 14 patients, a registered nurse was managing the facility located where the D'Anjou Office Building now stands. So began a story of service to humanity which enters a new chapter this weekend with dedication of Providence Hospital, Medford.
    The Superior was equal to the challenge of the community. She had experienced many such demands and followed several difficult building projects to success before coming to Southern Oregon. Her vision stimulated immediate plans for a hospital which would care for from 80 to 100 patients, according to chronicles of the Sisters.
Structure Visualized
    A modern, brick structure was visualized and Sacred Heart Hospital on Siskiyou Heights, then known as Nob Hill, was constructed. Feb. 18, 1912, the hospital was dedicated. Crowds approved the location with "its magnificent view of valley fruit orchards, the surrounding mountains and the expanding Medford " At night, the ever-increasing number of lights below assured the founding Sisters they had made the right decision in coming to Jackson County.
    Dr. E. B. Pickel, early Southern Oregon physician and health officer, was quoted in reports of the dedication as declaring: "Heaven smiles on dedication ceremonies of this new hospital. Though not the largest, it is the most up-to-date hospital west of Chicago.
    "Through untiring energy and master effort, this noble order, Sisters of Providence, have placed at our disposal a building of magnificent proportions, satisfying our most critical demands in minutest detail," the doctor continued.
    As Providence Hospital opens its doors to the public, Sacred Heart Hospital is scheduled to close. But the achievements of the intervening years will not be forgotten. Fortunately many of them are recorded in the chronicles of the Sisters.
Problems Remembered
    There were problems in the early days, one of the major ones being a staggering debt to be met. Even more frustrating were the difficulties encountered in securing and keeping professional helpers. Portland was 300 miles to the north and San Francisco 350 miles to the south. Valley distances, too, in 1912 and 1915, still the horse and buggy days to many Southern Oregonians, were at times almost insurmountable in the search for competent help.
    Mother Praxedes detected in this challenge the need for a school of nursing to provide professionally trained young women with their roots in the Rogue River Valley.
    A training school was opened in May 1912, less than five months after dedication of the hospital. There were three applicants from the immediate vicinity.
Sacred Heart 1916 1966-3-18pB2 Nurses
    The first graduation was held June 8, 1915, with three young women receiving diplomas. For the second graduation in 1916 there were four. Success seemed certain, but the hospital's future was not to be determined during the preceding years by local conditions alone. World War I was soon to halt Medford's growth on an unpredicted plateau. [Medford's population began its decline in 1912, not with the beginning of World War I.] Young men and women were drawn from the community into the services. No camp was established in the valley during that conflict. The school of nursing, along with all other projects in Medford, felt the stigma [sic] of war. The sponsors did not lose faith, however, and in 1920 a new group of students was recruited.
    Through 1933 the enrollment increased satisfactorily. Then the whole system was changed by new laws which directed the nursing schools into larger hospitals. The 15 students comprising the Sacred Heart Hospital School were transferred to St. Vincent's Hospital, Portland.
Remained in Valley
    Of the 40 graduates of the school, a number have remained in the Southern Oregon and Northern California areas to make important contributions to the health of the region served by Medford's medical program. Sister Mary Rosaria became a laboratory and x-ray technician at Sacred Heart Hospital; Hazel Swayne, Florence VanDyke Fish, Hilda Singler Clifford, Mayne Thorbus Lytle, Marion King Newberry--all are names well known to patients who have during some hour of the day or night placed their destinies in the soothing hands of a trained nurse.
    Mildred Ann Willetts, who did outstanding front line service evacuating wounded soldiers in World War II, was also a graduate of Sacred Heart Hospital School of Nursing.
Tumor Clinic
    Many other notable achievements were recorded through the years by the hospital on the hill which assure it a place in medical history. The first brain surgery, using hypothermia, was successfully completed there in 1959; the only tumor clinic in Jackson County was first maintained at Sacred Heart Hospital. The weekly chest x-ray clinic of the Jackson County Tuberculosis and Health Association was held at Sacred Heart Hospital until moving plans were recently announced.
    More important perhaps to many, many citizens, however, are the little things which were done at Sacred Heart Hospital to assure it a place in the hearts of men. These are too numerous to be named and too varied to be described.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 18, 1966, page B2

Sacred Heart 1966-5-26p9MMT
Sacred Heart Is Closed; Patients in New Hospital
    Greeted by orchids from the D. J. Boltons and hot coffee from the Providence Guild, patients from Sacred Heart Hospital became patients of Providence Hospital, Medford, today.
    The moving was continuing at 11 o'clock with 30 patients already snug in their beds at the new 89-bed hospital on Crater Lake Avenue and McAndrews Road. Nine more were to be moved in time for lunch.
    The first patient to check in at Providence Hospital, Medford, not as a member of the move, was Mrs. Bessie Riley, who came in the ambulance entrance at 11 a.m. and was given Room 317.
    As the staff of Providence Hospital accepted the 39 patients from Sacred Heart, the doors of Sacred Heart were locked. But the hospital on Siskiyou Heights moved into history with its traditional service continuing to the very minute of its closure. Two new patients were admitted this morning. They later joined the move to Providence Hospital, where all signs have been unveiled to indicate the hospital is now in operation.
Check Equipment
    Standing by in case any problems developed were representatives of the elevator company, the electrical [company] and mechanical equipment companies as the moving progressed smoothly in time for preparation of lunch.
    The more critical patients were retained at Sacred Heart Hospital until the last, Sister Carmelina, FCSP, administrator of the hospital, explained.
    The very last items to be moved will be the furnishings of the convent where the Sisters of Providence will reside. They expect to be in their new quarters, too, tonight.
    Sister Carmelina, the switchboard operator and nurses aides, all participants in the moving activities, voiced praise of the splendid support and cooperation given the hospital by the public this morning.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 14, 1966, page 1

Last revised February 4, 2024