Palos Community Hospital History
Although we opened our doors to patients in March 1972, the roots of Palos Community Hospital date back to 1903 when St. Bernard Hospital was founded in Chicago by the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph. In 1920, the religious order purchased 175 acres of land in the Palos area, about 20 miles southwest of Chicago's Loop. A portion of this land eventually would become Palos Community Hospital.
From 1920 to 1955, the land was farmed and supplied fresh produce, meat and dairy products to St. Bernard Hospital. In 1939, the order acquired Auburn Park Community Hospital and renamed it St. George Hospital. Then in 1959, a part of the 175-acre Palos plot of land was sold to the Northern Illinois Gas Company, and another portion became the Country Squire Estates subdivision. By 1965, the Palos Heights City Council had begun annexation of the remaining 40 acres, known locally as Mount St. Joseph, and approved plans to build a hospital. Annexation of the site was completed in 1968.
The plans called for the construction of a 265-bed facility at an estimated cost of $12.5 million. The plans also provided for eventual expansion as the need arose, and without detriment to the functional or aesthetic design of the building or site. In January 1970, ground was broken and construction began.
From the original 265 beds, the hospital expanded to 321 beds in 1975. Additional construction brought the licensed capacity to the current 436 beds.
In order to meet the evolving health care needs of the community, we expanded our range and depth of outpatient services through the construction of the Primary Care Center in Orland Park in 1985, along with subsequent construction of the Ambulatory Care Center on the main hospital campus in 1995. As the Orland area has continued to grow, so has the Primary Care Center, with the opening of the West Building in 1989 and the South Building in 1999. Today, the Orland facility houses our Immediate Care Center; outpatient laboratory, radiology and ultrasound services; outpatient psychiatric services and a chemical dependency treatment program; a pharmacy; and offices for more than 70 physicians and dentists.
In addition, PCH also jointly owns and operates the Southwest Hospitals MRI Center in Oak Lawn, in conjunction with Little Company of Mary Hospital. In 1996, the hospital purchased an independent home health care agency and now provides an expanded range of services under the name of Palos Community Hospital Home Health Care and Hospice.