Our History

Since the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia founded St. Joseph Hospital in 1891 (now St. Joseph Medical Center), the Franciscan Health System has grown with the enduring goal of fulfilling the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of those we serve. Here is a glimpse of our rich history in a pictorial timeline.

18911891 - The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia founded St. Joseph Hospital, Tacoma's first Catholic hospital. It opened with 60 beds. In keeping with the values of St. Francis of Assisi, the Sisters of St. Francis ministered to all people, regardless of race, religion or financial status. Eight years after opening, St. Joseph Hospital expanded to 200 beds to meet the growing need for services.

19001900 - St. Joseph Hospital established a school for nurses. It included a 2½-year course of instruction guided by school founders, Sister M. Zacharia and Sister M. Crucifixa from Philadelphia.

19151915 - St. Joseph Hospital moved into a five-story, modern building occupying an entire block along I Street between South 18th and South 19th streets. The facility eventually had capacity for as many as 300 private and semi-private beds. The hospital was the center for advanced and specialized care within the community.

19491949 - Following several years of fundraising and construction, Enumclaw Community Hospital opened with 22 beds.

19741974 - The new St. Joseph Medical Center opened. Designed by renowned architect Bertrand Goldberg, it features an innovative tower that reflects Goldberg’s theory of “nuclear design.” Patient rooms were clustered to form “villages” around nursing stations, facilitating eye contact and communication between patients and nurses. St. Joseph Medical Center was declared one of the most efficient health care facilities on the West Coast. The medical center tower remains an icon on the Tacoma skyline.

19871987 - St. Francis Hospital opened in Federal Way. It remains the only hospital in the growing community of South King County.

19901990 - Franciscan Health System acquired Lakewood General Hospital; the hospital was renamed St. Clare Hospital.

1996 - Franciscan Health System joined Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI). Based in Englewood, Colorado, CHI is one of the largest non-profit health systems in the U.S.

19991999 - Franciscan Medical Group formed with six clinics. Since then, Franciscan Medical Group has become one of the leading multi-specialty medical groups in the Pacific Northwest with clinics, physicians and other providers in Pierce, King and Kitsap counties.

20032003 - The Outpatient Center at St. Francis Hospital opened, offering diagnostic imaging, day surgery, a gastrointestinal lab, radiation oncology, and physical, speech and occupational rehabilitation services.

20042004 - The Outpatient Center at St. Joseph Medical Center opened. The facility features the newest medical technology, a serene healing environment, an efficient patient admissions process, and access to a broad range of services. The outpatient center was designed by Callison Architecture. It was declared one of the best-designed health care facilities in the U.S., winning a national design award from Modern Healthcare magazine.

20052005 - Franciscan Hospice House opened in University Place, near Tacoma. It is the only inpatient hospice facility in the South Puget Sound region.

2005-22005 - St. Clare Specialty Center, a state-of-the-art medical office building connected to St. Clare Hospital, opened. The Specialty Center houses physicians' offices and several of the hospital's outpatient programs.

20062006 - Franciscan Medical Group opened its 35th clinic, St. Anthony Prompt Care in Gig Harbor. The staff provides urgent care for minor illnesses and injuries.

20072007 - Enumclaw Regional Hospital joined the Franciscan Health System, becoming the fourth hospital in the growing organization.

20092009 - St. Anthony Hospital opened in Gig Harbor, becoming the fifth hospital in the Franciscan Health System. A sky bridge connects the hospital to the Milgard Medical Pavilion, home to physicians’ offices and numerous outpatient services.

Franciscan Medical Pavilion - Canyon Road2010 - The Franciscan Medical Pavilion at Canyon Road opens. The 22,000 square feet facility houses a prompt care, family medicine, specialty clinic, physical therapy and on-site retail pharmacy.

20112011 - St. Elizabeth Hospital opened in February 2011 in Enumclaw, replacing Enumclaw Regional Hospital as the community's acute-care facility.

2013 FMBSJ2013 - The Franciscan Medical Building at St. Joseph opens. The 120,000 patient destination center includes five floors of medical services, retail pharmacy, laboratory and café.

Highline Medical Center2013 - Highline Medical Center in Burien and the Highline Medical Group affiliates with CHI Franciscan Health.

2013FMPBL2013 - The Franciscan Medical Pavilion in Bonney Lake opens. The state-of-the art facility houses family medicine, an urgent care, digital X-ray, on-site laboratory and retail pharmacy.

Harrison Medical Center2013 - Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton and Silverdale affiliates with CHI Franciscan Health.

2014 - Regional Hospital, the region’s first long-term acute care hospital affiliates with CHI Franciscan Health.