On March 1, 2023, Providence Hospital of Everett, Pacific campus, celebrates the 100th anniversary of its groundbreaking in 1923, when a two-stage building plan at a cost of $300,000 was approved by the Sisters of Providence Council in Montreal, Canada, and the blessing of the cornerstone by Bishop Edward O’Dea occurred on October 14, 1923. The cornerstone was a copper box with records, contracts, and a history of the hospital building, which was designed in the shape of a cross and had 126 beds. The Everett Herald called it the most modern facility in the Northwest.
Providence Hospital has deep roots in Everett. It began as two separate hospitals – Everett General and Providence – both started by groups of women. Everett General, now the Colby campus of Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, was the brainchild of a group of women "managers" who formed a committee in November 1892 to undertake building and furnishing a hospital. Funds were raised through the efforts of Mrs. A. P. Foster, Mrs. W. G. Swalwell, Mrs. W deF Edwards, and Mrs. S. S. Neff. The hospital opened in February 1894 with 74 beds, and 14 bassinets. These women would help form the Everett Woman’s Book Club, whose first meeting was in the original Monte Cristo Hotel on July 2, 1894. The book club was still active in 2023.
In 1904 – acting on appeals by Everett residents to the Bishop of Nisqually, Edward O’Dea – the Sisters of Providence in Montreal purchased the Monte Cristo Hotel on the corner of Pacific and Kromer streets for $50,000. The three-story wooden hotel was never a long-term solution for a hospital. It had no elevator until 1916 and required $13,000 in remodeling before opening on March 1, 1905. There were 75 beds, 11 sisters, and three employees to handle 435 patients that first year.
In 1923, the Sisters of Providence borrowed $200,000, and on March 1, 1923 broke ground on a new 126-bed hospital just east of the Monte Cristo Hotel site. The grand old hotel was torn down by May 1925.
The Superior of the order of sisters was Mother Benedict Joseph (d. 1902), who was born Esther Pariseau. "She was raised on a farm in Quebec and learned a variety of skills as a result of her rural lifestyle: sewing, weaving, carding wool and caring for children. In addition, her father, a coach maker, taught her carpentry and design skills she’d later apply to the construction of some of the first hospitals and schools in the Northwest" ("The Providence Story"). A statue of Mother Joseph designed by sculptor Felix de Weldon stands in the U.S. Capitol Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. It is one of two statues selected by the State of Washington; the second one is of Billy Frank Jr., a Nisqually tribal member and fishing-rights advocate. Mother Joseph left a lasting legacy: "Under her leadership and trust in divine direction, more than 30 hospitals, schools and homes were opened for orphans, the elderly and the sick in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and southern British Columbia" ("The Providence Story").
Mother Joseph had hesitated to start a hospital in Everett due to a shortage of sisters, but a shortage of nurses in Everett encouraged the Sisters of Providence to start Providence Nursing school in May 1911. The sisters and Everett physicians taught a three-year curriculum featuring 12-hour days and 1-2 hours of lectures in the evening. In 1919, a house was purchased to accommodate the school; by 1929 a new nursing school was built next to the new Providence Hospital on Nassau Street. From 1911 to 1954, more than 350 nurses graduated. In 1957, after the school closed, it was remodeled into a 60-bed home for the elderly, called Providence Residence, which opened in March 1962 and closed in April 1969 to make way for hospital expansion.
By the late 1950s Providence Hospital's deficiencies in maternity and surgery units were recognized. This began fundraising for a $14.5 million building program in January 1962. George Duecy, president of Associated Sand and Gravel, made the first contribution of $10,000. Paul Sevenich, retired Everett businessman, was named fundraising chairman. By June 29, $404,602 had been pledged, including $30,000 from the Weyerhaeuser Foundation.
In 1966, the hospital opened a Critical Care unit outfitted with a "crash cart" for reviving heart attack victims. In 1969, the Intensive Care unit opened. Wide community support included a $30,000 donation from the Boeing Employees Good Neighbor Fund and a $53,000 grant from Weyerhaeuser Foundation.
Expansion and Merger
In January 1973 the medical staffs of Providence and General hospitals started combining their monthly staff meetings. In 1975 the medical staff formally combined, and in March 1976 bylaws were accepted to combine the medical staffs. The first Combined Medical Staff officers were Dr. Clayton R. Haberman; Dr. Willard Larson from General Hospital; Dr. Erwin R. Slade from Providence Hospital; and Dr. Paul H. White.
During construction, done in four phases, the 1924 cornerstone was opened on August 10, 1972, 17 days before the dedication of the new hospital, which employed 379 full- and part-time workers. A new cornerstone was designed by Everett artist Bernie Webber, and with his daughter Elizabeth, they added current reports and records. One of the special guests at the 1972 dedication was Sister Ermelinda Moore, who had come to Everett in 1904 to oversee the carpentry work on the Monte Cristo Hotel transformation into Providence Hospital. Sr. Ermelinda was the aunt of Dr. Charles Trask of Everett.
The 13-year building project ended in March 1974. The 1924 hospital was demolished to make way for phase IV construction. In 1977, the John Flynn Cancer Center opened, and Providence began doing total knee and hip replacements.
Everett General Hospital and Providence Hospital formally merged on March 1, 1994, and in 2000 the name was changed to Providence Everett Medical Center. A year later, a new pavilion for women and children was completed, featuring advanced obstetrics, neonatal and pediatric care, and a breast care center. It served a 1,000 square mile area of Snohomish, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, and Skagit counties.
Providence Everett Medical Center christened another new addition with the opening of the Cymbaluk Medical Tower in June 2011. At a cost of $460 million, the 12-story tower on the Colby campus was the largest and most comprehensive building project in the hospital’s history. "According to Providence CEO David Brooks, the new tower was designed around Providence’s patient- and family-centered care philosophy, with comfort, privacy and convenience in mind. 'By combining cutting-edge technology with patient-centric care, Providence aims to set a new standard for the way patients and their families experience hospital care in America,' said Brooks" ("Providence Regional Opens ...").