Presence Saint Joseph Hospital, Chicago

Providence Hospital 1868

The history of Presence Saint Joseph Hospital traces back to 1868 when Chicago Bishop Duggan asked the Daughters of Charity to travel from Emmitsberg, Maryland to open a hospital to care for victims of a cholera outbreak.

Sister Walburga and two other Daughters answered that call and traveled to Chicago. The sisters opened Providence Hospital, which is known today as Presence Saint Joseph Hospital, in a rented 2-story cottage in the town of Lakeview, at the corner of what is now Clark Street and Diversey Avenue.

Providence Hospital ward 1870

In 1870, the Daughters purchased a piece of land for a new hospital at what is now Burling Street and Dickens Street. In October 1871, while the hospital was under construction, the city suffered the Great Chicago Fire. The new hospital building was spared and served as a shelter for many of the fire victims. In 1872, the sisters moved into the new building and renamed it Saint Joseph Hospital. By 1890, the hospital was enlarged and increased its bed capacity to 100.

Saint Joseph Hospital opened the first tuberculosis unit in the city, and in 1871, opened the first psychiatry unit.

St Joseph Hospital Pharmacy 1893

In 1893, the Saint Joseph School of Nursing, which was affiliated with DePaul University, opened on the Burling Street property. Some 1,504 nurses graduated from the school prior to its closing in 1964.

By 1894, inpatient and outpatient services in the hospital included surgery, medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, cardiac care and eye, ear, nose and throat treatment.

By the late 1950s, plans to leave the aging facility were underway. In 1961, a groundbreaking was held for the new hospital, which was estimated to cost $12 million.

St Joseph iron-work 1950

And in 1964, patients and staff were moved into the new 500-bed Saint Joseph Hospital on its current site at 2900 North Lake Shore Drive.

In 1995, Saint Joseph Hospital merged with Columbus Hospital in Lincoln Park and Saint Anthony Hospital in Pilsen/Little Village. The new health care system became known as Catholic Health Partners.

St Joseph Hospital-Lakefront

Six years later, the sponsorship of Saint Joseph Hospital was transferred to Resurrection Health Care. Resurrection Health Care is a family of health care services providing advanced medical care and exceptional customer service with compassion and hope.

Learn more about the hospital's architecture