St. Luke's history of patient care excellence and medical innovation reaches back more than 150 years. Our beginnings are rooted in the efforts of leaders and other members of the Episcopal Church including physicians who joined together to further the work of the church and to help meet the healthcare needs of people in the growing city of St. Louis. Our founders chose to establish a hospital committed to the mission of improving the health of the community, and they named it in honor of St. Luke, the patron saint of physicians. Joined in ministry by the Presbyterians in 1948, St. Luke's is part of the healing ministry of the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA).
St. Luke's Hospital admitted our first patient on February 28, 1866 at our original 25-room infirmary near present-day Interstate 55 and Russell Boulevard. The infirmary had a medical staff of eight physicians, and family and friends provided nursing care. Just a few months after opening, St. Luke's faced our first great challenge - a cholera epidemic. We cared for more than 7,000 patients with cholera free of charge in our first 12 years in operation.
In 1881, St. Louis Philanthropist Henry Shaw donated $5,000 and land at the corner of 19th and Washington Streets for St. Luke's second hospital location. The new hospital operated for about 20 years before moving to Delmar Boulevard in 1904, the year of the World's Fair in St. Louis. Prior to that in 1889, the St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing was established. Until it closed in 1988, it was the oldest nursing school in continuous operation west of the Mississippi River.
As many St. Louis residents were migrating westward in the early 1970s, St. Luke's Hospital West, our current main campus, opened in Chesterfield in 1975. In 1985, all hospital operations were moved to Chesterfield, and our hospital on Delmar Boulevard closed. St. Luke's maintained a pediatric care clinic at the Delmar Boulevard site until 2001, when the St. Luke's Pediatric Care Center opened in north St. Louis County. This mission-based agency of St. Luke's provides quality primary care to medically underserved and underinsured children in the St. Louis region.
Growth and expansion on St. Luke's Chesterfield campus and beyond were rapid. Just a few of St. Luke's trailblazing firsts include installing the St. Louis area's first hyperbaric chamber for hyperbaric oxygen therapy in 1973, offering the first urgent care center in St. Louis in 1982, opening the area's first hospital-based facility to provide complete care for the detection of breast cancer in 1984 and in 2014, partnering to offer Open Upright MRI of Missouri with first-of-its-kind imaging technology in the state.
As an independent, nonprofit healthcare provider, St. Luke's has continued to bring quality healthcare services close to home for community members by offering additional urgent care centers, outpatient centers, imaging centers, physician offices, St. Luke's Institute for Health Education, St. Luke's Surrey Place, St. Luke's Vascular Access Center, St. Luke's Rehabilitation Hospital and St. Luke's Home Health and Hospice Services.
In 2018, St. Luke's acquired the former Des Peres Hospital (now St. Luke's Des Peres Hospital) to create an even stronger healthcare network. Additionally, just as St. Luke's rose to the challenge of caring for patients during the cholera epidemic in the 1800s, St. Luke's served as a healthcare leader in caring for our community during the COVID-19 pandemic starting in 2020 by providing high quality, innovative treatment, implementing leading safety measures and administering more than 110,000 COVID-19 vaccines.
Today, St. Luke's physicians, staff members and volunteers continue our healing ministry of improving the quality of life for our patients and the community. We provide personalized, compassionate healthcare services in more than 60 specialty areas at our hospitals in Chesterfield and Des Peres as well as nearly 30 other locations in the St. Louis region. St. Luke's is consistently recognized with national honors for excellence in healthcare quality, safety and patient satisfaction, and in St. Louis, St. Luke's is the exclusive alliance provider for the nation's No. 1 heart hospital, the Cleveland Clinic Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute.