California Hospital Medical Center was founded in 1887 by Dr. Walter Lindley and two other physicians. It was originally a three-story building located at 315 W. Sixth Street in Los Angeles. On the first floor of the structure were offices of established physicians. On the second floor there were several small offices occupied by younger physicians and a dentist. Although there were no elevators in the building, the third floor contained a small hospital of six to eight beds.
Dr. Lindley conceived of a hospital owned and operated solely by physicians. The physicians in Lindley's building were "carriage trade" and were affiliated with the University of Southern California Medical School. Twenty-one physicians agreed to acquire property at the corner of 15th and Hope which was a quiet residential street of attractive homes. When the property on Hope Street had been acquired, the first physician-owned and operated hospital in Los Angeles was erected at 1414 S. Hope Street. It was the first building in California especially invented for medical purposes - a project that Walter Lindley supervised at every stage of its design and construction.
Leading the Way
By 1902, CHMC turned into the largest and best-equipped physician-owned hospital west of Chicago and less than 25 years later, CHMC's old frame buildings were replaced by a more modern nine-story brick building, resulting in another famous "first" - it was the first fireproof hospital in Los Angeles. Between 1870 and 1910, hospitals moved from the periphery to the center of medical education and medical practice. And the effects of this significant change rippled outward, altering the relationship of doctors to hospitals and to one another, and shaping the development of the hospital system as a whole.
The access that private practitioners gained to hospitals, without becoming their employees, became one of the distinctive features of medical care in America, with consequences not fully appreciated even today. In harmony with the growth of the city of Los Angeles along other lines was the innovative development of facilities for caring for the sick. California Hospital - the pioneer, private, general hospital, owned and operated by physicians - blazed the way and established a precedent which had a worldwide following.
Today, California Hospital is a 316-bed acute care hospital that provides services for the dynamic community of downtown Los Angeles and its surrounding neighborhoods.