Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dead French in L.A.: French Hospital Begins Construction 1869

The French Benevolent Society raised funds for the former French Hospital to be built in 1869.[1] In those times, the “City of Los Angeles was no more than a small dusty agricultural community with a population of 1,500.”[2] French Hospital (now called "Pacific Alliance Medical Center") was built to attend to the growing French community, especially after the 1860 pre-paid health plan founded by the French Society for newly arrived French citizens. It is Los Angeles’ second hospital established shortly after one built in 1856 – St. Vincent’s Hospital.[3]

A famous Joan of Arc statue stands guard in front of the hospital. It served and welcomed Chinese individuals working in the railroads and agriculture by the 1900s.[4] It is now a hospital serving Chinatown residents.[5]

Pacific Alliance Medical Center (PAMC) has a rich history that dates back to when the City of Los Angeles was no more than a small dusty agricultural community with a population of 1,500. In 1860 The French Society was founded as a pre-paid health plan for the newly arrived French citizens. The Society soon realized that the growing French community needed a hospital, and so constructed the French Hospital at the corner of College and Castellar now known as Hill Street in 1869, making it Los Angeles’ first hospital. The landmark statue of Joan of Arc still stands proudly on the front lawn as a reminder of this period in the history of our City.

By the 1900s the once predominate French Community welcomed Chinese individuals working in the railroads and agriculture. The area became known as Chinatown.

Chinatown thrived, expanding and becoming ever more diverse. In 1989, the founding board members of PAMC took a substantial risk and purchased the French Hospital from the French Benevolent Association as part of their commitment to maintaining a full-service hospital in the Chinatown community. Their vision and generosity has allowed PAMC to flourish and serve local residents that now number close to 1.2 million.

With a dedication to innovation and commitment to excellence PAMC has earned numerous prestigious awards and recognition in the health care industry. PAMC received the Cleverley and Associates Five Star Hospital Award in 2007 and 2008. The hospital has also been recognized by Thomson Healthcare: It was named a 100 Top Hospitals in the United States in 2007, and in 2006 it was the only Southern California hospital to be recognized as a Thomson 100 Top Hospitals Performance Improvement Leader. [6]

[1] “Pacific Alliance Medical Center.” In AWLA Chinatown Guidebook. Los Angeles: Angeles Walk LA, 2008. 16.
[2] “History.” Pacific Alliance Medical Center.
[3] “History.” St. Vincent Medical Center. 
[4] “History.” Pacific Alliance Medical Center. 
[5] Young, Ryan. “The Neighborhood Project: Chinatown.”
[6] "History." Pacific Alliance Medical Center website

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