Helena Childs Torrance presented the deed to the hospital to Dr. J.S. Lancaster,
former president of the Torrance Hospital Association. Lewis Torrance
and Brain K. Welch, nephews of the late Jared Sidney Torrance, viewed
Three thousand people attended the opening of the new 32-bed Jared Sidney
Torrance Memorial Hospital, located on a prominent spot in Torrance, facing
southeast on Engracia Avenue. Designed in Spanish-style architecture,
the building was rose colored with mottled title roofing, surrounded by
grounds, walks and driveways designed and landscapes by profession gardeners.
Mrs. Torrance was largely responsible for sustaining the hospital during
its first decade of financial stress. This fact was not well known until
her death in 1940 at age 72. At that time, it was revealed that Mrs. Torrance
had served as its major benefactor. She donated needed hospital supplies
and equipment until the depression ended. She also remembered the hospital
in her will with a generous bequest.
Superintendent Esther Maxwell previously had been Night Superintendent
at the Community Hospital of Long Beach. During World War I, she served
overseas in the Red Cross and was decorated by the French government for
distinguished service. The staff consisted of Mrs. Maxwell and six nurse,
as well as a cook, assistant cook, hospital assistant, engineer/gardener
and a houseman, for a total staff of 12.
The hospital performed essential services for the entire South Bay area
on a nonprofit basis. Leading physicians, professionals and businessmen
in six nearby cities worked with similar groups in Torrance to wipe out
an operating deficit of $2,000 that had resulted from shrinkage of the
endowment during the depression.
th anniversary of the opening of the Jared Sidney Torrance Hospital was celebrated
on May 12. During the first ten years of operation, hospital staffed cared
for 10,711 patients and delivered 1,701 babies, including 18 pairs of twins.
A major addition was made to the original Jared Sidney Torrance Memorial
Hospital on Engracia Avenue with the opening of a 23-bed wing. Further
expansion provided a total of 96 beds in the building. All the new beds
were immediately occupied. Torrance Memorial was the only hospital from
Santa Monica to Long Beach rated a Class A by the American College of Surgeons.
Torrance Memorial doctors on staff pledged $100,000 for the building fund
campaign, one third of the fund goal for the hospital's expansion.
Volunteers donated over 6,000 hours becoming a major source of support
to medical center operations.
Torrance Memorial and West Torrance Convalescent Center were area leaders
in the uniform revolt. Nurses were allowed to wear colored pantsuits instead
of white dresses as uniforms.
A group of community and physician leaders from Torrance Memorial and Riviera
Community Hospital met to discuss a merger and plans for new hospital campus.
The first scoop of earth was turned signifying the beginning construction
of the new $8 million Torrance Memorial Hospital.
Next Chapter: Torrance Memorial Medical Center, 1970-2000s