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St. Joseph's County Hospital On Frankin St.

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Some real history here! The St. Joseph's County Hospital burned down in 1894.  This is the story.

From the book The Episcopacy of Nicholas Gallagher, Bishop of Galveston, 1882–1918.

Catholic Building for had been used by the Franciscan priests when they staffed St. Vincent's Parish, by Ursuline Sisters fro New Orleans when they staffed St. Vincent's School (1867-1869), and by these Sisters when they likewise staffed the same school (1869-1873.) The Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament from Victoria had temporarily lived there before moving to Incarnate Word Academy on Crawford Street (April-November, 1873.)

St. Joseph's Infirmary was opened to the public on June 1, 1887.  Two years later the medical officer for the indigent sick was impressed with the methods of caring for the sick. After the county judge toured the hospital, Mother St. Louis was requested to receive the indigent sick of Harris County. There was quite a bit of dissatisfaction with the old Houston Infirmary on Washington Avenue. Mother St. Luis agreed.

The sisters soon expanded their facilities. A new three-story building, St. Joseph's County Hospital, was erected across the street. The sisters were paid 50 cents a day for indigent patients. Private patients paid two dollars a day.

The diagnosis of patients with smallpox led to the construction of a smallpox hospital in an abandoned cemetery. There were three hundred victims of smallpox. Approximately sixty died. All of the Sisters volunteered to help at the “pest house.” Four from the growing staff of Sisters were chosen.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Flanagan's Boarding House next to the hospital caught fire (October 16, 1894.) Before long, the entire block was in flames. This was no match for the one fire engine the city owned. Two Sisters lost their lives, and a third was seriously wounded, though she survived. This was devastation to the Sisters. In addition to the--



Photo of the hospital that burned down:


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  • The title was changed to St. Joseph's County Hospital On Frankin St.

I'm confused. Which St. Joseph's Hospital building is this? It's beautiful!

From the book The Houston Buildings of N.J. Clayton by Stephen Fox.


The first St. Joseph's infirmary (1894) was destroyed by fire shortly after this photograph was taken. / Art Work of Houston, 1894.


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On 9/22/2023 at 11:10 PM, Highrise Tower said:

I'm confused. Which St. Joseph's Hospital building is this? It's beautiful!

Yeah, it's a bit confusing.

The post card published in Houston Post Cards shows a very different building for the 1866-1894 Saint Joseph's Infirmary.  It also states that while two nuns died in the fire, that the blaze only partially burned the campus.  It wasn't destroyed, according to the book.

It also shows the 1919 Saint Joseph's Infirmary, so I wonder if either your photo, or the one in the book, is actually where it operated from between 1894 and 1919.

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Three photos so far & only the first two photos show trees in full leaf, while that same wooden infirmary is in the background of the third photo, so it could still be what burned, unless the third photo is incorrectly sourced to 1894 in the caption.  

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