The history of St. Vincent Hospital begins in 1888 with a letter from Bishop Frederick Katzer to the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in Springfield, Illinois, asking for their help to start a hospital in Green Bay. Four sisters quickly responded.
Green Bay’s first hospital opened on December 15th of that same year in a 23-room house on Quincy Street. Equipped with just one chair, four beds (without their springs), an old cook stove, and a bubbling kettle over a stone fireplace for laundry, its resources were humble. Yet, an abundance of faith and charitable principles, combined with a commitment to employing the finest medical practices of the day, helped the hospital thrive—and continue to grow.
The spirit that built and maintained St. Vincent is still carried on today by dedicated medical staff, employees, volunteers, and benefactors who live by the creed of “caring for the patient first.” Because of their dedication, St. Vincent Hospital has entered the 21st century as a thriving, innovative, regional health care leader, offering the finest medical care of the day.
1888 through the early 1900s
1888: Four Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis come to Green Bay to open the first St. Vincent Hospital, a roughshod little house on Quincy Street with a single chair, four broken-down bedsteads, a rusty cook stove and a battered kettle in which to do laundry.
1894: The Sisters purchase eight lots on South Webster Avenue for future development.
1895: The new St. Vincent Hospital goes up and is a building that will be a familiar piece of Green Bay’s landscape until 1957.
1903: St. Vincent goes “high tech” with the installation of the hospital’s first elevator to transport surgery patient to patient rooms.
1907: The hospital adds a chapel.
1915-1916: A new wing with an x-ray and laboratory department and a new surgical department is added.
1927: An addition creates space for a new laundry.
1934: The main office is enlarged and remodeled and the hospital’s first admittance room goes into operation.
1936: The hospital adds physiotherapy to its list of specialized medicine.
1954: The Sisters break ground for a new hospital, the foundation of today’s building.
1957: The new St. Vincent Hospital opens with 437 beds.
1969: The Intensive Care Unit opens with the addition of a seven-story tower, the Newborn Intensive Care Unit opens as the first resource of its kind in the area for critically ill newborns.
1975: An addition goes up on the hospital’s north side, adding much-needed space; the Regional Perinatal Center is organized to serve patients with “high risk” pregnancies.
1983: The Regional Rehabilitation Center opens.
1984: St. Vincent Home Health Care is certified.
1985: The Regional Dialysis Center moves to a new building.
1987: The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Center is founded as a joint venture with Bellin Hospital and regional physicians to serve northeastern Wisconsin.
1988: St. Vincent celebrates its centennial with a new addition and renovation.
1998: St. Vincent launches a joint venture, EAGLE III, with Bellin Hospital and County Rescue that features a specially equipped helicopter which provides emergency air medical transportation to the region.
2000 to Present
2000: A $26.6 million major demolition and new construction project involves tearing down the hodgepodge of old structures on the east side of St. Vincent Hospital and putting up a five-story “super block” for patient services including new quarters for the Regional Cancer Center and Regional Emergency Center. Across the street, a new building to accommodate the hospital’s support services – the heating plant, mailroom and materials services loading dock – goes up with a tunnel beneath the street connecting it to the hospital.
2004: St. Vincent opens its cardiac cath lab, the start of a new heart program.
2006: The Heart Center opens in May with cardiothoracic surgery suites and a Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit to complete the full range of heart services at St. Vincent.
2007: A $4.8 million Window Wall Replacement Projects sees the installation of all new windows on the west side of St. Vincent’s 10-story building, replacing the old windows that have served the hospital for 50 years.
Today: Those four early Sisters planted the seeds of a hospital ministry whose efforts have created a staff of over 2,225 more than a century later. Each day we find new and better ways to bring the best medical care to our patients with the same dedication and commitment of the caring, innovative Hospital Sisters who started our charge and inspire us yet today.