County celebrates centennial of former hospital

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the former hospital at 3580 Pacific Ave. that today houses Pierce County’s Human Services. And five years ago this month, Pierce County purchased the former Puget Sound Hospital, returning the facility to the public sector. The double anniversary was celebrated by the department’s 350 employees yesterday with a hamburger and hot dog barbecue and entertainment in the east courtyard.

“These are important milestones in the history of Pierce County,” said Fran Lewis, Human Services director. “Looking back reminds us of where we’ve been and with the continued dedication of our employees, we can also celebrate where we are going.”

The hospital was constructed by the Northern Pacific Railway in 1905 for its workers. The county later acquired the facility and built a new hospital at 36th and Pacific in 1926. The South building was built in 1952 and served for a time as a tuberculosis sanitarium. The two-building hospital was sold to a private company in 1969. In August 2000, the Pierce County Regional Support Network purchased Puget Sound Hospital and created the Human Services campus.

Historical Timeline of Puget Sound Hospital

1882 — The Northern Pacific Railway developed the Northern Pacific Beneficial Association (NPBA) to provide and administer health care benefits for railroad employees.

1905 — The NPBA built four regional hospitals, one of which was the Northern Pacific Hospital in Tacoma that eventually became Puget Sound Hospital. This hospital, located on McKinley Hill overlooking the Port of Tacoma, was built at a cost of $93,691.

1926 — Pierce County built Pierce County General on the Pacific Avenue site where the North building of Puget Sound Hospital is located.

1952 — The county built a TB Sanitarium adjacent to the county hospital. This building eventually became the South building of Puget Sound Hospital.

1969 — The hospital, known during this period as Mountain View Hospital, was purchased by NPBA and renamed Puget Sound General Hospital.

1970 — As a result of a major railroad merger, Northern Pacific was now a part of the Burlington Northern Railroad and the NPBA became a separate, non-profit organization called Health Services Association (HSA). HSA also ran a clinic out of the hospital.

1977 — HSA joined the North and South buildings with a sky bridge on the fourth floor level.

1978 — HSA purchased the medical building across 36th Street, and renovated and moved its clinic operation into Sound View Medical Plaza.

1981 — American Healthcare Management Inc. purchased the facilities, and “General” was dropped from the Puget Sound name.

1982 — AHM began a renovation that would bring Puget Sound Hospital into the modern health care arena.

1991 — AHM underwent a successful restructuring with the new corporation retaining the AHM name.

1994 — AHM merges with ORNDA HealthCorp and becomes the nation’s fifth largest hospital chain.

1998 — New American Healthcare Corporation acquires Puget Sound Hospital.

2000 — Pierce County Regional Support Network purchases Puget Sound Hospital to create the Human Services campus and maintains behavioral health inpatient service.