Saint Joseph Hospital

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History

SJH Lex Home
Original St. Joseph Hospital¹

Like its counterpart in Louisville (Saint Joseph Infirmary) the Saint Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky was founded by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Opening in early October of 1877, the hospital was headed by Sister Euphrasia Stafford and was a 12-bed house. Just a year later, the hospital managed to outgrow that 12-bed house and moved to Second Street in Lexington in 1878. At this location, the hospital grew to become a 300 bed facility with modern equipment and amenities for the care of patients.

 

SJH LexThe first patients at Saint Joseph Hospital were six elderly women but due to hardship, only one of these patients could afford to pay for their medical care. In 1887 a new section was added to the hospital to house negro patient and this was against repeated in 1915. By the late 1890s the hospital had installed its first elevator and replaced the cottages with a three story building. In 1900 the Knights of Columbus helped to finance a new wing of the hospital. Later, plans materialized for a School of Nursing which opened on 1 February 1918. All graduates of the School of Nursing managed to pass their nursing examinations. A maternity ward officially opened in 1919 and housed some 40 bassinets. The same year, the Catholic Hospital Association and the American College of Surgeons helped establish minimum standards for hospitals. There was a staff of 123 physicians which included nine residents and interns. in the early 1920s, a four-story building was constructed and provided a new maternity wing, six operating rooms, and a kitchen and dining room. In 1926 a laundry was donated to the hospital by a Col. E. R. Bradley.

47429712_587668258344531_7556730159693299712_nIn 1926, hospital official purchased a home opposite of the hospital in which they used as a nurses’ home. However, in 1929 a fire destroyed the building. In 1931 a chapel was built at the request of the sisters. In 1932 a clinical laboratory was established at the hospital and it was approved for operation by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. The laboratory functioned under sister medical technologists. Additionally, the hospital contained a fully functioning x-ray laboratory. The remaining years in the decade and into the 1940s brought a pharmacy, auditorium, a new five-story wing and Euphrasia Hall, the nurses’ home housing 125 students.

By 1959 the hospital made its last move to its current location oh Harrodsburg Road. The previous location was demolished in the 1960s and senior citizen housing took its place and is operated by the Housing Authority of Lexington.

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Sister Supreme Euphrasia

Historical Photographs ²  ³

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Contributed by Shawn L. and Phil T.

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References

  1. Burnett, P. (1947, November 16). St. Joseph Hospital continues to expand after serving community for 70 years. Lexington Herald-Leader.
  2. Lafayette Studios. (1930-1939). St. Joseph’s Hospital, 1930s Decade[photograph]. Lexington, Kentucky: University of Kentucky.
  3. Lafayette Studios. (1940-1949). St. Joseph’s Hospital, 1940s Decade[photograph]. Lexington, Kentucky: University of Kentucky.

Notes:

Some newspaper images are from historical archives of The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky). Some photos are provided from former annual reports of the hospital to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. All other photos were obtained, donated, or copied from state and hospital archives or personal collections. Please contact us before using any photographs or images on this website. We do not own the copyrights to all photos and those photos we do own require written permission before any use.

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