St. Vincent Infirmary
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The seeds for the St. Vincent Infirmary were planted as a result of the yellow fever epidemic which ravaged the South in 1878, when Little Rock had few physicians and no hospital.
The St. Vincent Infirmary has a long history of caring and service in Little Rock, Arkansas. Since it’s beginning in 1888 as a “Charity Hospital,” to the present, it has shown its love for the poor and impoverished.
In 1888, five Sisters of Charity, of Nazareth, Kentucky, and one “Mother General,” rolled into the Little Rock train station aboard the Iron Mountain Railroad. They had been invited to the city by the Bishop of the Little Rock Diocese, Edward Fitzgerald.
Charity Hospital was built with the support of some of Little Rock's most influential and renowned people. At its humble begining, it had 10 beds.
Until then, the Sisters of Charity had not operated a hospital outside the state boarders of Kentucky. As change is the only constant in the universe, change was in the future of this little hospital located on East 2nd Street.
The name of the hospital was changed to Little Rock Infirmary, in 1889, by Bishop Fitzgerald. It had been the desire of the sisters and the bishop, to honor St. Vincent de Paul, a French priest who compassionately cared for the sick and the poor, by naming the hospital St. Vincent Infirmary.
As America slowly walked into the 20th Century with its new technology, the facilty left its modest beginnings and moved to a three-story, 50-bed hospital at 10th and High streets, in September 1900.
The move provided the opportunity to open the St. Vincent Infirmary School of Nursing in 1906. It was the first such school in all of Arkansas and graduated seven nurses in 1909.
The school closed in 1969, having graduated 1,431 nurses during its history. It had a reprieve in 2001, when it was reopened as the “School of Practical Nursing.”
In 1910, the 50 beds were no longer adequate, and a 100-bed addition was built.
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