The Warm Springs Rehabilitation System originated in 1937 as the Gonzales Warm Springs Foundation for Crippled Children. The natural springs outside Gonzales were believed to have recuperative powers, especially for victims of polio. Original organizers of the hospital included Jack Blackwell, Ross Boothe, Harold Michelson, Henry Reese, Maximilian H. Starcke, and other Texas businessmen. Access to the springs began in 1939, and a sixteen-bed in-patient facility was completed in 1941. By 1947 the hospital had added four more buildings and was a leader in the fight against pediatric polio. With the success of the Salk vaccine in the 1950s, the hospital underwent major changes, as it altered its mission to care for patients of all ages suffering from physical disabilities caused by disease or by industrial or automobile accidents. Despite the changes the hospital was almost forced to close in the early 1960s due to financial problems. However, former patients and community leaders around the state rallied and raised the funds to keep the hospital afloat. Following that crisis the Warm Springs Rehabilitation Foundation was established to operate the nonprofit rehabilitation center. In 1989 the foundation opened a facility in San Antonio at the South Texas Medical Center offering both in-patient and out-patient care. During the summer of 1992 the Corpus Christi Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital opened to serve the Coastal Bend area. In the 1990s the foundation entered into an affiliation with the Baptist Memorial Hospital System of San Antonio to establish a network of outpatient rehabilitation clinics throughout Bexar County. The hospitals hold accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Services at the three locations include physical, speech, recreational, vocational, and occupational therapy.
Support Texas History Now
Join TSHA to support quality Texas history programs and receive exclusive benefits.
- Health and Medicine
- Hospitals, Clinics, and Medical Centers
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Tracé Etienne-Gray, “Warm Springs Rehabilitation System,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 01, 2020, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/warm-springs-rehabilitation-system.
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.