BOISE, Idaho — The first hospital in the City of Boise opened its doors on December 27, 1894. The Sisters of the Holy Cross received the first patients at Saint Alphonsus Hospital, located at 5th and State Streets in Boise.
From the archives: “The dimensions of the hospital are 137 x 48 feet. All the modern improvements electric lights, call bells, telephone, etc. are in the building but of all these conveniences the one most appreciated by the invalids is the artesian hot water used for heating and bathing…”
Answering a call to assist during the Civil War, the Sisters of the Holy Cross, based in Notre Dame, Indiana, earned a reputation as outstanding nurses and organizers. After the war, they were asked to found hospitals in many locations. The first Bishop of Boise, Rt. Rev. Alphonse Joseph Glorieux, asked the Sisters to come to Boise to start both a school and a hospital. Assisted by a $1,000 donation from Captain De Lamar from Silver City, work began in 1893 on the city’s first hospital. Saint Alphonsus was named in honor of Bishop Glorieux and Saint Alphonsus Liguori.
Saint Alphonsus opened with five sisters, two doctors and nine employees. To celebrate the work of the hospital’s intrepid founders, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center will commemorate 125 years with events throughout 2020. Patients in the hospital will receive commemorative cards marking the anniversary, and all babies born on the 27th will receive a stuffed “Alphonzo the Bear” doll.
From those humble beginnings 125 years ago, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center today is the flagship of a five-hospital health system, including more than 70 specialty clinics and 6,000 employees in Idaho and Oregon.
The Boise hospital relocated to its current Curtis Road campus in 1972, marking a significant expansion and modernization of healthcare for the Boise area. Today, it features 362 beds, and nearly 3,800 employees. More than 17,500 patients were treated at SARMC in Fiscal Year 2019. The hospital is the region’s most advanced trauma center, and was the region’s first Joint Commission Accredited Advanced Primary Stroke Center.
Even though the facility has moved, grown, and advanced into a state-of-the-art medical center, the hospital’s mission to heal the body, mind and spirit of our patients hasn’t changed in 125 years. Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center has held true to the words reported in the Idaho Statesman when the first hospital opened in 1894: “…the chief aim of the hospital is to heal and soothe the ills of a suffering humanity, and to create a true haven of rest and comfort for all those upon whom the heavy hand of sickness has been laid.”