On May 17, 1925, the Jared Sidney Torrance Memorial Hospital admitted its
first patients. Today the hospital celebrates 95 years of service to the
city that’s also its namesake.
Jared Sidney Torrance had a grand vision for the hospital. Unfortunately
he never got to see the fruits of his efforts, as he died in 1921. However,
his wife, Helena Childs Torrance, worked tirelessly to make his dream
In 1920, shortly before Torrance was incorporated as a city, Jared—the
city’s founder—made a will leaving $100,000 to the Torrance
Hospital Association. The bequest in the will was declared invalid because
of a technicality in the California law. However, Helena along with Jared’s
siblings, nieces and nephews honored his bequest by purchasing property
on Engracia Avenue. They worked to construct a building and deeded it
to the Torrance Hospital Association.
The opening of the 32-bed Jared Sidney Torrance Memorial Hospital was attended
by more than 3,000 people in the spring of 1925. With an original staff
of only 12, it was located on a prominent spot in Torrance, facing southeast
on Engracia Avenue. Designed in Spanish-style architecture, the building
was rose-colored with mottled tile roofing, surrounded by grounds, walks
and driveways designed and landscaped by professional gardeners.
Helena was largely responsible for sustaining the hospital during its first
decade of financial challenges. She donated needed medical supplies and
equipment during the Great Depression. She also remembered the hospital
in her will with a generous bequest. With gratitude to Jared and Helena
Torrance, Torrance Memorial Medical Center remains a pillar in the South
Bay community today.