Local hospital celebrating 50th anniversary

CREATED Jul. 13, 2011

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Web Producer: Mary Myles

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Carondelet Health Network praises St. Joseph’s Hospital as they celebrate their 50th anniversary in Tucson.

According to a media release from Carondelet Health Network, this hospital first opened on Tuesday, July 12, 1961 and over the years has now tripled in size to serve those in need of medical assistance. It is now a "state-of-the-art" campus able to provide services such as labor and delivery, neonatal care, plastic surgery and many other specialties.

The hospital is fairly historic. It was built by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet who were originally asked to open and manage St. Mary’s Hospital in 1880 by Bishop Salpointe.

In July of 1961, the Sisters began operating Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hopsital.

The media release also included a brief history of St. Joseph Hospital provided below:

In 1956, it was clear that Tucson needed more hospital beds to care for the city’s growing population. The founding order of St. Mary’s Hospital, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, was approached about the idea of building a hospital on Tucson’s east side. After months of discernment, the Sisters announced their plans to build what they anticipated would become a 450-bed hospital on 96 acres along Wilmot Road. The first wing of the new hospital would open in 1961, at a cost of $3 million, and include 130 beds.

Groundbreaking took place on June 3, 1959. The building of Carondelet St. Joseph’s faced its share of challenges, including a local construction strike followed by a national steel strike. However, once the steel strike ended, construction moved forward at the greatest possible speed and the official opening was delayed no more than one month from the original plan.

At its opening in 1961, St. Joseph’s was considered one of the nation’s premiere facilities because it was built on an intricate system of central dispatching, including pneumatic tubes, dumb waiters and elevators, and designed to provide the most efficient flow of supplies to patients on every floor.

St. Joseph’s was dedicated on May 1, 1961, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. At the dedication, Arizona Governor Paul Fannin said, “This wonderful facility for the service of humanity is an accomplishment in which all Arizona can take pride.”