In the 1920’s, San Bernardino experienced a rapid population growth of 18,700 residents in 1920 that grew to nearly 40,000 by 1930. Concerned about the lack of hospital facilities for this booming population, a local surgeon, Dr. Philip Savage Sr. (1880-1955) shared his dream of building a faith-based hospital with Father Patrick Dunn, pastor of St. Bernardine Catholic Church, and Mother Mary Placidus Mulcahy, superior general of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in Houston, Texas.
Guided by the Founding Sisters of Charity, they established a formal trust agreement with members of the non-medical community. The group’s fundraising efforts raised enough to purchase a vacant field near the corner of Waterman and Highland avenue, which was a dirt road flanked by farms and fields.
California Governor James J. Rolph laid the cornerstone of the new St. Bernardine Medical Center and convent and the hospital officially opened its doors on October 10, 1931. The hospital’s first patient, Mrs. Louise Landry, honored her daughter’s birthplace by naming her Bernardine Landry, who was delivered by Dr. Eugene H. Hull and baptized in the convent chapel by Father Dunn.