It was 1887 when Dr. Walter Lindley decided to build a hospital in Los Angeles. Over a century later, California Hospital Medical Center remains a cornerstone of LA and is a recognized leader in excellence, innovation and community service.
California Hospital was originally a three-story building located at 315 W. Sixth Street in Los Angeles. On the first floor of the structure were offices of established physicians. On the second floor there were several small offices occupied by younger physicians and a dentist. Although there were no elevators in the building, the third floor contained a small hospital of six to eight beds. After all, our forebearers believed a beautiful view was key to healing.
Dr. Lindley conceived of a hospital owned and operated solely by physicians. The physicians in Lindley's building were "carriage trade" and were affiliated with the University of Southern California Medical School. Twenty-one physicians agreed to acquire property at the corner of 15th and Hope which was a quiet residential street of attractive homes. When the property on Hope Street had been acquired, the first physician-owned and operated hospital in Los Angeles was erected at 1414 S. Hope Street. It was the first building in California especially invented for medical purposes, a project that Walter Lindley supervised at every stage of its design and construction.
Leading the Way
By 1902, California Hospital Medical Center had turned into the largest and best-equipped physician-owned hospital west of Chicago. Less than 25 years later, our old frame buildings were replaced by a more modern nine-story brick building, resulting in another famous "first" — it was the first fireproof hospital in Los Angeles.
Between 1870 and 1910, hospitals moved from the periphery to the center of medical education and medical practice. The effects of this significant change rippled outward, altering the relationship of doctors to hospitals and to one another, and shaping the development of the hospital system as a whole. The access that private practitioners gained to hospitals, without becoming their employees, became one of the distinctive features of medical care in America, with consequences not fully appreciated even today. In harmony with the growth of the city of Los Angeles along other lines was the innovative development of facilities for caring for the sick. California Hospital — the pioneer, private, general hospital, owned and operated by physicians — blazed the way and established a precedent which had a worldwide following.
California Hospital Through The Years
1889 - The first X-rays taken in LA were performed at California Hospital by Dr Albert Soiland with equipment he built himself at home
1898 - Opened School of Nursing (in effect until 1984, having graduated more than 2100 nurses)
1932 - Served as the official Olympic Games Hospital when LA hosted the games in that year
1944 - Became a Supply Depot for the new miracle drug penicillin
1984 - Began Family Medicine Residency Program in conjunction with USC
1986 - Opened the California Reproductive Health Institute, where the first successful frozen embryo transfer in the nation was achieved
1992 - Served as collection and distribution point for “Rebuild LA” task force to gather clothing, food, baby supplies and cash donations after the Rodney King riots
1993 - Hope Street Margolis Family Center opened to serve low-income families affected by substance abuse
1994 - “Baby and Me Clinic” founded to help pregnant teens under the age of 19
2004 - Earned designation as Level II Trauma Center
2012 - Opened Los Angeles Center for Women's Health to provide specialty care
2013 - Hope Street Margolis Family Center moved into a brand new LEED-certified building
Today, California Hospital is a 318-bed acute care hospital that provides services for the dynamic community of downtown Los Angeles and its surrounding neighborhoods.