Good Samaritan Hospital was established in January 1952 when the Lutheran Home and Welfare Society assumed management of Puyallup General Hospital at the request of the doctors who owned that facility. It was located in downtown Puyallup, near Meridian Street and Fourth Avenue Northwest.
The Lutheran Welfare Society changed the hospital’s name to Good Samaritan, a name inspired by the parable about the Good Samaritan that is recorded in the Gospel of St. Luke. Thus began the hospital’s tradition of caring with the compassion and spirit of Christ’s love that distinguishes the organization to this day.
As it was taking over management of that hospital, the Lutheran Welfare Society also was completing construction of Lutheran Minor Hospital for the Chronic Diseases of the Aging in Puyallup. This facility, which was dedicated in July 1952 by Washington’s then-governor, Arthur Langlie, was located on 14th Avenue Southeast, about a quarter-mile south of the Puyallup Fairgrounds.
During the next five years, patient admissions to Good Samaritan Hospital in downtown Puyallup increased dramatically, and the little building became inadequate for modern hospital services. In 1957 the city’s health and fire authorities informed the Good Samaritan Board of Directors that it must either cease operation of the hospital or move the health care programs to a larger, newer facility.
As fate would have it, Lutheran Minor Hospital was experiencing financial difficulties at the same time. Representatives of Good Samaritan Hospital and the Lutheran Welfare Society determined that the best course of action for both facilities, and the community at large, was to consolidate the two organizations into one hospital that would be called Good Samaritan.
An enthusiastic, community-wide fundraising campaign financed renovation and expansion of the Lutheran building to accommodate the needs of the merged health care providers into a united, general hospital.
On Oct. 5, 1958, a public ceremony celebrated completion of the new Good Samaritan Hospital on 14th Avenue Southeast, the site of the former Lutheran Minor Hospital. This was one of the biggest regional news events of that year and a source of enormous community pride.
"You can all be proud to have had a part in making the new hospital a reality that is dedicated to the glory of God and healing of the sick," said Henrietta Button, a registered nurse and director of Good Samaritan Hospital, thanking contributors to that fundraising effort. She was quoted in the Oct. 2, 1958, edition of the Puyallup Valley Tribune, which included several pages of news stories and photographs about the new hospital.
The decision to allow Good Samaritan to purchase and renovate Lutheran Minor Hospital proved to be as wise a decision as was hoped. Good Samaritan was able to provide Puyallup residents with an additional operating room, two pediatric wards, a delivery room, a pharmacy and an x-ray department. By combining the staffs of both hospitals, Good Samaritan began offering the region’s best medical, rehabilitation and social services programs.