Grateful American® Foundation

Where was the first US hospital located?

May 11th

PAhospitalMay 11, 1751 — A charter is granted today by the Pennsylvania legislature to establish a hospital “to care for the sick, poor, and insane who wandered the streets of Philadelphia,” according to the history of Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first public hospital.

Founded by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond, Pennsylvania Hospital has provided the setting for many “firsts” of the nation, as well as many other noteworthy medical, historical, and cultural milestones.

In fact, the story of the Good Samaritan was chosen by Franklin and Bond as the official seal, and “Take Care of Him and I will repay Thee” ushers in a new attitude of social responsibility.

In 1752: A temporary hospital is opened in a house on High (Market) Street and Elizabeth Gardner, a Quaker widow, is appointed matron.

In 1755: The cornerstone, written by Franklin, is laid for the East Wing of the building at the hospital’s current location of 8th and Pine, on land that is purchased by the hospital, and patients are admitted in 1756.

Words of Wisdom

Hospitals are places that you have to stay in for a long time, even if you are a visitor. Time doesn't seem to pass in the same way in hospitals as it does in other places. Time seems to almost not exist in the same way as it does in other places.

— Pedro Almodovar, Spanish film director, screenwriter, producer and former actor

Partners & Supporters