PeaceHealth in Bellingham, Washington:
From Frontier Outpost to Regional Medical Center
In August 1890 two members of the fledgling order of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace traveled west from their home in Atlantic, New Jersey. Their mission was to establish a hospital in the fishing and lumber town of Fairhaven, Washington, later part of Bellingham. Once there, Sisters Teresa Moran and Stanislaus Tighe began raising construction funds by selling annual hospital "tickets" for $10 each.
The Sisters opened 30-bed St. Joseph Hospital, the first hospital in Whatcom County, in January of the following year. It was staffed by seven nuns and a lay cook. Hospital food included fresh vegetables from the Sisters' own garden.
In 1901 St. Joseph Hospital moved to a larger 53-bed facility on Forest Street, built for $21,000. To help finance the new facility, the Sisters once again sold hospital tickets, venturing as far away as Alaska to collect funds from gold miners in the Klondike. The Forest Street hospital was expanded four times in 65 years before it was replaced in 1966 by a new 81-bed facility on Ellis Street (the hospital's current location).
After several major expansion projects and the purchase of St. Luke's General Hospital in 1989, St. Joseph became a two-campus hospital: Main Campus and, at the former St. Luke's site, South Campus.
The hospital continues to change and expand to meet the needs of growing communities in northwest Washington. In 2003 a major expansion project was completed that added a parking structure, new surgical suites and the Cardiovascular Center, and two more floors to the South Tower. In 2007 the emergency department was expanded and named the Haggen Family Emergency and Trauma Center, in commemoration of a major gift from the family.
In July 2008 PeaceHealth acquired the assets of Madrona Medical Group and combined the Madrona providers and the St. Joseph Medical Group providers to form PeaceHealth Medical Group.