There’s not much left of the original facade of the old Deaconess Hospital on Oakland Avenue, slated for demolition if the sale of the property to the zoo proceeds.
There is still this nice nurses’ wing, I believe, that could be reused by the zoo. It looks like it’s in good shape, and has architectural merit.
My favorite part of the hospital is the row of three nurse statues that line the corridor that links the hospital with the west wing above. They have been moved to the Building Arts Foundation.
The rest of the hospital site is definitely looking worse for wear. The glass box office building, to be saved for the zoo’s expansion, is still in good condition.
It’s a shame the building is being torn down, but I must say that I believe the zoo would be a good steward of the property. Forest Park lost many, many acres of land to Highway 40, and I see no reason why the park can’t spread south a little, into space that has been institutional for close to a century. Less surface parking would be nice, if the zoo could alter its plans for the site.
And the saving of the two iconic towers would be a welcome sign from the zoo as well.
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I will miss it a tad as well – I was borned there some years ago (as in "from when the postcard dates"…).I wouldn't imagine the towers could be saved, short of severing them from the old building and lifting off with a tremendous crane – prob bigga bucks. That said, they would make a cool pair of gate guards!
I was born here in September 1954
You're right, short of dismantling them it would be very difficult.
I had been reluctant to think that demolishing this building complex would be a good thing, as I've always loved driving north on Hampton between Southwest and 44, seeing that building across the valley perched on top of that hill, keeping watch over the entire area. But you make a very good point about the Zoo being able to lay claim to the site as being a repayment to Forest Park which as lost so much space over the years. So I'm keen to agree with you.
The protrusion on the front facade, that look like exposed elevator shafts, are 'bathroom pods' installed in the 1990's.
What happens to the statues inside of the old Deaconess. The ones of the nurses in various uniforms/habits from over the years.
Good question; I’m not sure who took them.
I am saddened to find out that this hospital was closed and already demolished.
I have many nice memories as an extern from 1990 than later as an intern in Internal Medicine in 1994. It was a nice, friendly, homey hospital with really good staff.
The nurses in the various uniforms are in the safe keeping of the Deaconess Nurse Ministry.
It’s a shame to see the hospital come down. My Mom went to Nursing school there in 1959 – 1960. In those days the student nurses were required to live on the property in the Nurses building and not allowed too much freedom. My Mom said they had a Nurse that was like a building Captain that made sure all the rules were followed, etc. I remember the only day we could visit was Sunday and my Dad would take me to see my Mother. I remember playing on the lawn out in front of the hospital. It seemed like that lawn was endless.
My Mom also worked in the Delivery Room at Deaconess for many years which she said she really loved. She spent 53 years as an RN. And when I broke both of my arms at 13 years old, guess where I went!
Yes! They were called deaconesses.
Your Mom may have helped deliver ME! I was born there in 1966, and was there for two weeks, because I was small from being slightly premature. They wouldn’t let me go home til I weighed five pounds…
When I was there for a tonsillectomy in 1947 (I was 7), I asked a nurse what the two towers were for.
She told me that was where the angels slept during the day; at night they came down and sat by the bedside of sick children. Naturally, I believed her, but could never quite stay awake to see mine.
Pretty neat story, and reassuring to a kid!
I became a new resident of Dogtown at Deaconess
on 19 September 1933. So now where will they put
the bronze tablet commemorating that auspicious
Next to my plaque of 1 PM, 15 August, 1940.
I was born here!
Same september 1989
I was born at Deaconess, too. August 15, 1942.
Check this out…
I went to nursing school at a Deaconess a Hospital school of nursing, graduated in 1982, worked there as a RN in the Newborn Nursery, gave birth to my soon there in 1988, had major surgery there
So many great memories I have of my time spent there, I drove past a few weeks ago and it’s all demolished and gone, I just sat in my car and cried
Very sad to see it go. My entire family of six was born there; a two hour drive from our farm in the Ozarks. Driving “into town” was a big deal back then. Forest Park seemed like such a magical place to me as a child.
I was born there Nov 4 1952…
I was born there October 1990. ?
I graduated from the Deaconess Hospital Internal Medicine Residency Program in 1994. I have enjoyed a very successful practice over 22 years from training with some of the best physicians anywhere. My heart was broken to visit St. Louis and find the grand hospital in demolition. During the demolition I acquired bricks from the towers as a gift from the St. Louis Zoo. Those bricks were used as the keystone in the main entrance of my new state of the art medical office building in Frontenac, Kansas. My medical practice is now named Deaconess Healthcare, P.A. The spirit of Deaconess lives on!!
I also trained in Internal Medicine at Deaconess with Drs. Hill and Chambers. I
was overjoyed to hear the hospital and residency programs shut down. Basically the Medicine Service was slave labor with little to no teaching. There were one to two full time teaching attendings to supervise an army of residents and none were
professors at the two medical schools in town. The sole purpose of the residency was to provide cheap labor and enrich the hospital administration and attending physicians. Teaching rounds, Morning Report, hospital conferences were terrible. I left before Deaconess closed down and transferred to a university
hospital program. The only saving grace was that in the end, the stream of money ended and Deaconess was demolished. Deaconess was not a good teaching hospital, and other than the rotations at St Louis City Hospital, this was a waste of time. The loss of St Louis City Hospital was tragic. The loss of Deaconess was overdue and righteous.
Interesting perspective, Dr. Lukrich. Thanks for sharing!
I remember the wonderful time I spent there as an intern. Even though sometimes it was hard and busy during calls but we learned a lot!
I remember Dr. Hill, Dr. Chambers, Dr. McCann and many great physicians / teachers; also all the kind nurses, medical office staff, dietitians, volunteers, kitchen staff etc.
I remember, the meals were free for interns and residents.
They took care of us well!
I did a transitional internship 1984 to 1985 with Dr Hill as director. It was a wonderful program and I learned a great deal. Wonderful fellow interns and residents. I remember I was finally a real doctor then and, at times, embarrassed when nurses would call me doctor. Yes the call was brutal but we got used to it and that is how it was back then. Enjoyed shooting pool every day in the doctor lounge. Yes, the food was free and in the evening, the dining was great. Remember doing chelation therapy on kids with lead poisoning and amazed at how much lead was excreted in their urine. Still wonder to this day why chelation therapy is not used more. The CCU team was fantastic. We saw many sick patients with end stage CHF. Code blue was called frequently. A cardiologist attending there, Dr Ahmad, was instrumental in changing my mind to become a radiologist rather than a cardiologist. One day around 3 am when I was assisting him in replacing a Swan Ganz catheter, we started talking about quality of life. He asked me if I wanted to have a family. I said yes. He then replied, “Don’t be a cardiologist then. You will be called all hours day and night. Even with partners, you will be extremely busy since your patients will not want your partner to see them if they have an MI or serious problem.”
Will always be grateful for the experiences and learning achieved there.
I worked in the pharmacy as an intern from 1965 – 1967, under a very talented German pharmacist. My aunt was a Deaconess Sister, Hulda Echelmeyer. I have very fond memories of the hospital, nurses and physicians. A Dr. Rau comes to mind, who I taught how to drive! Very sorry to see its demise.
I donít think that comment is accurate I believe Drs Hill , Chambers, Wright, Carmichael as well as the Cardiologists Dr Ahmad. Hernandez and many other clinicians provided many teaching opportunities Ee also did many rotations at Saint Louis University. The majority of my classmates went in to fellowship At prestigious Universities the ones who decided to go on to primary care have had successful careers in Internal medicine . I believe the faculty gave Us plenty of of opportunities to learn and it was up to Us to take advantage of it. I am sad the hospital is not longer there. I was an intern was DrMoraleda was a family practice resident and I remember him as a very fine person
Best year of my training(1991-1992), in the transitional medicine internship. We were proud interns and residents who took to heart our mission to run the hospital, to eat, sleep, and breath medicine. Drs. HIll, Chambers, Wright and so many others were stand up models of what a physician was meant to be. My lessons are burned into my brain and I can picture and remember by name, now nearly 30 years later, so many of my patients and experiences there.
In the era of zero mandatory work hour restrictions, there was a humane and safe system to protect interns and residents from excess call and fatigue through the night float system. That is not to say that 80 hour work weeks didn’t still happen, topping out at more than 100 hours for some of my obstetrical weeks.
I can picture the stairwells, granite steps and walls, hugely wide, with landings that the entire rounding team could stop on for a lecture or discussion. The building was designed around the needs of the medical system of an earlier era, yet worked fine in the modern era too.
Every day there was a meaningful and well prepared lecture at the noon hour. Plus too, daily patient rounds with an attending physician, other assorted conferences, and constant access to the teaching faculty. Teaching didactics there bested everything that major-teaching-university a few miles down the highway could muster for my subsequent 3 years of residency. When I wanted some pediatric experience, the Deaconess residency arranged rotations at Cardinal Glennon. Other residents were able to get farmed out to meet their individual goals. That is not the sign of a program abusing us as workforce, if they are willing to send us to other institutions.
On the final day of internship, after giving handoff to the newest of interns, the hospital operator piped the theme song from St. Elsewhere throughout the hospital speaker system, the same as she had done a year earlier on our first day. That was our nudge to leave for the last time. The nine 3×5 cards in my white coat pocket that morning, one for each of my patients that were my responsibility up until that moment, are in my desk drawer today.
Interesting viewpoint. Seems a little sarcastic compared to all the good reports.
My wife was born there in 1947. She is an angel. Kinda sad to see it being torn down
Our church minister, Dr. Herbert Wintermeyer was on its board for years. Good old memories of a dear old city!
My mother worked at Deaconess Hospital for 16 years and she graduated from nursing school as well from Deaconess College of Nursing. I also attended Deaconess Day Camp as a child and made some really good friends there who I will never forget.
Thanks, I enjoy all of these stories!
Enjoyed reading the reviews & looking at the pics. I loved Deaconess worked their 1982 to 1994. Started as LPN on 4 North covered medicine. Also worked in Ambulatory Care, SurgiCenter, MediCenter & Family Medicine. Attended School of nursing ADN program. The first LPN to RN class. Moved from Alton, IL to Dogtown Oakland Ave walked to work. Lots of wonderful people missed from Deaco!!
Love to hear from other Deaco staff.
I graduated Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing in 1984. Worked after graduation on the Med Surg floor. Then I went into IV Therapy and stayed until I left Missouri. LOVED this hospital. Lost my Graduation Nursing Pin and now I am heartbroken.
I graduated from Deaconess Nursing In 1984. Earlier this week I was thinking of Janet Barnicle, she typed all of her care plans and assignments! She was amazingly organized. Sorry to about your nursing pin. I have moved all over the country and in the process cannot find my transcripts, now that everything is gone, any suggestions? Nursing has allowed me so many opportunities that treasure. We had so much fun at the little restaurant and bar across the street to the south, Schmeezings(?)
Where are the medical records from Deaconess Hospital located?
Yes, I lost mine too! Found this vine trying to see if I could find a preowned one?
I graduated from Deaconess School of Nursing in 1982. I was a transfer student & loved my “new” home. I worked many years there as a staff nurse, head nurse & assistant director of nursing. Many, many fond memories of DH.
Graduated in 1962
Me too…’62….first year that we 3 ‘married ladies’ were transferred into Sr. class; psych rotation w/Sister Elizabeth!! Rained us indoors for grad ceremony; my folks watched through gym window! Hired by U of Mo Med Center [med/surg; then charge in peds clinic]…really grateful for Deaco days’ quality of care&training!!
I was an intern at Deaconess in 1997 and loved the experience. I have great memories of that building and hate it was destroyed.
Seems like many of the doctors in St. Louis once called it home.
So many memories. I graduated from the 3 year school in 1942.
Learned so much that I continue to use.
Would love to know what happened to the statues
They’ve been moved to safety at the Building Arts Foundation:
thanks for posting
I gas my son there in 11-6-97 I really didnt Care for it back then but now sitting here thinking i really like that hospital cant Belive it close all this time I thought it was still open
Of course i have kids now my oldest was born out of town my last two was born in barnes my kids was born 94-97-01-12
I was a CCU nurse from 89-93. Was one of the lucky nurses to start up the open heart unit. Enjoyed all the staff and learned alot from all of them. Was very sad to drive through St Louis today and see it was gone.
I was born there on Valentine’s Day in 1941.
Was Deaconess considered to be in St. Louis county or city?
It is inside St. Louis City.
I was a patient there in the psch ward need info to verify va claim for ptsd during the viet nam war any body know where past records are store.?
Chris, any idea where the past medical records are stored? You seem to know everything else about the hospital, so can you help us out here?
Records are stored at St Alexius Hospital in St Louis, MO.
Thank you, Luke! Is there a contact over there people can call to get their records?
I delivered a baby girl there in 1979, while my brother was in ICU with a leg amputation after being hit by a drunk driver so I spent a lot of time there that summer. What happened to all the records?
I’m looking for my birth record from December 12,1950. The name would have been baby girl McCarthy. Please help me.
I’m looking for my mother’s birth records as well. From 1957. If you find out anything please let me know!
My mom just passed and we are trying to retrace some of her past. We have been able to find out that she was licensed on 04/20/1971 after attending the Deaconess School of Nursing. She later worked at Deaconess as well. Her name is JoAnn Hunt but was JoAnn Layton when she graduated. Does anyone have any pictures that she may be in or have ideas of where I might find a graduating picture of her or her class? Thank you.
I remember the clinic, I was going there and I had my two oldest at Deaconess. I cant believed it closed. My child was born in 1985 and than I had two miss carriages. I do remember having my first child that my heartbeat and my son was gone so they where trying to get in to delivery room to perform a c-section and I remember strapping my arms down and legs in the stairups than walked over to other Side room and they were not ready, I tell he going to fall the doctor ran over and caught my son before hitting the floor. It is weird going by that area and seeing it gone.
I was born there April 1937
Worked in the OR 1978-80.Am looking for old friends to contact me.
How many different names did this hospital have? I remember the original Deaconess and then Forest Park Hospital, but wasn’t there another name change after Forest Park Hospital?
I’m still trying to figure out where the medical records have gone. I have gotten several requests about this. Stay tuned.
My birth certificate of 1943 reads Evangelical Deaconess Hospital. It was a hospital of the Evangelical Church of North America, a Lutheran based denomination. The Deaconesses were almost like Catholic nuns and the nursing model worked for a while; almost like the Episcopal nuns who nursed at St. Luke’s Hospital on Delmar. Eden Seminary too, as well as the many Evangelical Churches found in the St. Louis German Protestant community of St. Louis City. Eventually the churches were absorbed by the new United Church of Christ in the 1960s. The Evangelical name was dropped and became Deaconess Hospital. Now, it is all gone.
I am still waiting to see if you have learned where the medical records are kept since the Deaconess on Forest Park was torn down. I need my medical records very bad. I need to provide my medical records to the VA doctors for review. Records from years 1986 -2006
Laird, Chris has some insight a few comments down from here.
I have been told they’ve been moved to St. Alexius.
Looking for birth records from 1973. From Normany Community Hosp, which then became Deaconess West, then became Forest Park. And now that’s gone. I’m believing that they must be destroyed. Any insight?
What happened to the Deaconess Hospital monumental facings?
MISSOURI CITY CITIZEN(S)
Do you mean the nurse sculptures? The Building Arts Foundation was able to carefully remove and preserve the three nurses for posterity; see the link here:
I would contact the zoo public relations department if you’re curious, as they were in charge of demolition.
WOW. Lot’s of history in that place.
I did my medicine internship 2001-2002. Does anyone know of any link for contact info for the records of all the residency/internships? I need to get a hold of my internship certificate.
According to a commenter above, the records are now at St. Alexius in Dutchtown.
Chris, I have been enjoying your site for several weeks, catching up on twelve years. Then today I found the Deaconess and Parks College (Cahokla) sites. HOLY COW!! I graduated from Deaconess in 1973 and my husband from Parks in 1972. Lots of fraternization between Parks and the hospital schools of nursing (Deaconess, St. Lukes, Barnes etc,) since they were all year round schools. I love that the stone nurses statues are saved–yes, we wore those uniforms. In my day, the glass center area of each of the 5 floors of the school of nursing was the solarium–one TV per floor (black and white, of course). The basement contained classrooms, laundry pick up (the hospital washed those pinafores for us) and an underground corridor to the hospital and cafeteria. The sisters lived on the 2nd and 3rd floors, the students on the 4th, 5th, and 6th floors and the 2nd and 3d floors of the adjoining dorm behind the original (on Berthold Ave.)
Until 1972, all students were female, not allowed to be married, had to live in the dormitory, be in by 10pm and request permission to leave the premises for the weekend. There was a first floor parlor for male visitors, under the watchful eye of the house mother. It was a wonderful three years and a great education.
How interesting about your school’s link with Parks! I didn’t realize that.
Joann,so good to read your memories. I was one of your classmates. We started 50 yrs ago yesterday.
Yes, Norma, I remember. You lived across the hall from me on the 4th floor our first year. We arrived on Labor Day 1970, and graduated June 10, 1973. I hope you enjoyed your nursing career as much as I did.
I was,totally broken hearted when I visited Deaconess hospital a few years after the United Church of Christ relinquished its ownership to Tenet and multiple other owners thereafter leading to its eventual demise. It’s a great training hospital for one who needs the hands on experience. During internship ( I was one of the very first Family Medicine interns in 1988) , we did many procedures that interns nowadays may no longer be doing: central vein cath, lumbar punctures, bone marrow biopsies among others. Thank you to our great teachers – Drs. Hill, Campbell, Carmichael, Terrell, Zink & Zink, etc. The great camaraderie among the residents and nursing staff made the hard work seem less so. It was one of the first hospitals,in town to as adopt the shift duty for the IM residency.
Thank you for sharing your memories, Dr. Moraleda.
My brother was born at Deaconess Hospital in 1947 and I in 1951. I still have my original birth certificate. Our parents lived in Centralia, IL at the time and my momís doctor, Dr. Louis Kurtz, thought mom lived too far away so he kept her there for two weeks after both births. A great rest for her but when she had me, she really missed her little boy at home.
I am looking for my vested pension with Deaconess Hospital. I last worked there in 1988. Please need help in finding this pension plan. Tenet no help.LPN NURSE 4th floor Deaconess Hospital.
Deaconess has many very fond memories for me. I worked there from 1985-1994. 5 South was a busy Med-Surg floor, but the staff was great. We also had our 3rd child there, a daughter, there in 1993, she is 26. Dr. Convery was our family MD and our childrenís pediatrician was at the Medical Office Center. I was very sorry to see it gone. We were in St. Louis this past weekend for the Blues All Star festivities, it looks very empty when passing by the former Deaconess site. There is an empty spot on Hampton and memories in my heart.
Thank you for sharing, Ms. Ellis. Did Dr. Convery have a son named Jim, by chance?
I too worked at the old Deaconess Hospital from 1978-2008 under the various owners
I called that place home for many years met some of the nicest people that some I still keep in contact with.
I worked there from 93 – 96
I HAD 6 CHILDREN AT THIS HOSPITAL 94, 97 /2 00, 03 ,05:
WAS SO SAD TO COME BACK TO S.T.L AND ITS GONE!
MY YOUNGEST WAS BORN 2005 AND SHES ASKING QUESTIONS I CANT ANSWER????
The consolidation of private hospitals in the last thirty years, and the proximity of St. Mary’s in Richmond Heights spelled the end of this historic hospital, unfortunately.
I had my tonsils removed there when i was 10, i am now 50….my grandfather also passed in that hospital in 1980
I am saddened to read that The Evangelical Deaconess Hospital as we called it in 1955-6 is no longer around. As a Foreign Medical Graduate spending the first year in the US, the attending physicians were all very friendly and took the time to impart pearls of wisdom some of which i still remember (age 89 now). There was a physician in charge of training and those early years of exposure blended well with my subsequent training at Baylor U, and subsequently as faculty member of a prominent Medical Center in California. Sad but fond memories of The Evangelical Deaconess Hospital and the nice Sisters!
Dr. Monzon, thank you for sharing your memories of this special hospital!
I had my tonsils out there in 1938.
I graduated from Deaconess School of Nursing in 1977. Spent 33 wonderful months there. Yesterday, I was at the zoo with my grandsons age 4 and 21 months. It still seems like a big gap when I look across 64. My grandsons are too young to understand what was once in this empty space.
While strolling through Big Cat Country, I remember it was being built while I was at Deaconess. I watched it go up.
Brings tears to my eyes. It truly was a wonderful place. Retired after 42 year nursing career.
Thanks for sharing! I always wondered when Big Cat Country was built.
i am looking for info how to get my medical records from Deaconess hospital that was in st louis mo for 1995
They might still be at St. Alexius Hospital in Dutchtown. We’re not sure.
I worked in CardioPulmonary at Deaconess from 1983-1986. It was a great experience, and it seemed everyone knew everyone. I remember holiday meals in Miss Hullings cafeteria. I would love to hear from others who were there during this time.
I happened to find Stlouispatina by chance. I did my internal medicine training 1989-1992. I was a wonderful place. Staff and patients made this place special. I am still in contact with some of the doctors and nurses who worked there.
I worked for 12 years in the ER. A lot of fond memories and fun stories to tell.
I was born there June 29, 1948. My mother said she could hear the animals from the zoo.