St. Joseph Hospital

By: Kevin B. Park

Type: General Entry

Published: June 1, 1995

Updated: April 2, 2019

St. Joseph Hospital, the oldest hospital in Fort Worth, was founded on May 29, 1883, by J. M. Eddy of the Gould railroad system. The hospital, then called the Missouri Pacific Hospital, was built for the railroad workers. Eddy offered $75,000 to start the hospital if the city would provide land for it. Citizens raised the $4,000 needed to purchase a site, and a frame building 300 feet long and two stories high was constructed. The present hospital is on the original site. In early 1885 the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of San Antonio were invited to take charge of nursing. Bishop N. A. Gallagher asked Mother St. Pierrette Cinquin, the mother superior of the order, to visit the hospital, where the chief surgeon persuaded her to send ten sisters to Fort Worth to staff the institution.

Only a few months after the sisters arrived, on April 5, 1885, the hospital burned. The railroad rebuilt it and continued to operate it until they moved their patients to Sedalia, Missouri, in 1889. They then sold the hospital to the sisters for $15,000. The institution was renamed St. Joseph's Infirmary and dedicated on May 12, 1889. In 1898 a new permanent building was completed, and in 1906 St. Joseph's Training School for Nurses opened. In 1917 the hospital was incorporated separately, and in 1930 its name was changed to St. Joseph Hospital. Throughout its history, St. Joseph has rendered substantial services without pay. The first patient the sisters admitted was a charity case. In 1923, when a boy died after being turned away from the City-County Hospital, the Mother Superior officially stated that at St. Joseph's patients who could not pay would be given the same treatment as those who could.

In 1930 St. Joseph became one of the sixteen hospitals accredited for internship in Texas and the first in Fort Worth. Saint Joseph has also led in cancer programs, hospital-based sports medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, oncology, surgical and intensive care, and ambulatory care. Throughout its century-long history, the hospital has grown steadily without diminishing the values of generous service on which it was founded. By 1993 St. Joseph had 475 beds, a general staff of 1,000 employees, and a medical staff of more than 625 doctors.

Austin Daily Statesman, May 29, 1883. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 20, 1939. Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–1958; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976).

  • Health and Medicine
  • Hospitals, Clinics, and Medical Centers
  • Religion
  • Catholic
  • Homes and Orphanages
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Fort Worth
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Kevin B. Park, “St. Joseph Hospital,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 21, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995
April 2, 2019

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