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  • City's first hospital, Tacoma General, celebrates 131st birthday

    The first hospital in Tacoma is celebrating its 131st birthday. On April 29, 1882, Tacoma General Hospital was born in a former dance hall in Old Town.

    A monument still stands on the hospital's original site, on North Starr Street off Tacoma Avenue North, in honor of Fannie C. Paddock, who raised money to bring medical care to the community. Fannie died during the journey west from New York, but Bishop John A. Paddock honored his wife and fulfilled her dream with the founding of Fannie C. Paddock Memorial Hospital exactly one year after her death.

    In 1889, the hospital moved to a new building on South J Street, on a plot of land donated by the Tacoma Land Co., which also gave land for the nearby Wright Park. The hospital established the first nursing school in Washington state in 1895. In 1912, the name changed to Tacoma General Hospital.

    “Tacoma General is the oldest continuously running hospital in the region — in fact we were founded seven years before Washington gained statehood,” says Shelly Mullin, RN, President of MultiCare's West Pierce Region that includes Tacoma General Hospital. “This hospital has grown along with Tacoma almost from Tacoma’s very beginning, and is, I think, a vital part of history here. It’s also a big part of my own history; I started at Tacoma General right out of nursing school in 1986, and chose it as the place where I wanted to build my career. It makes me proud that I’m now one of the stewards of Fannie’s legacy, more than 130 years later.”

    Tacoma General Hospital is one of the oldest institutions still based in Tacoma after all these years. The Tacoma Land Co. was founded in 1873. The News Tribune's oldest predecessor, the Tacoma Daily Ledger, first published in 1883. Annie Wright Schools began in 1884. In 1888, the University of Puget Sound was founded.

    For more information about Tacoma General’s history, visit

    Posted on Apr 29, 2013 in