The original old St. Luke’s Hospital Downtown on Palmetto Street that operated from 1878-1914, is now on the National Historical Register. In 1914 a new hospital moved to Springfield in north downtown Jacksonville. The school of Nursing associated with St. Luke’s has since closed and then in 1984 St. Luke’s moved from Springfield to the new Belfort Road elite facility. When it was recently purchased by St. Vincent’s in 2008 and the St. Luke’s logo replaced in January 2012, this was the final goodbye to a city treasure.
The first St. Luke’s structure was a rented farm house and was started in 1873 to care for the many tourists that came to Florida to escape the cold weather in the northern part of the country. Click here to read the full history of St. Luke’s Hospital, the tourists that were treated and the three women who started it. In 1876 a new building was constructed but never able to be used as it was destroyed by fire before it could ever be occupied. The building that was used as Old St. Luke’s from its opening 1878 to 1914 was added to US National Register of Historical Places in 1972; it is located at 314 North Palmetto Street. In 2009 the building on Palmetto was purchased by the Jacksonville Historical Society and will be used for their new home which will house Jacksonville archives. It will become the new history center for Jacksonville. It is a National treasure that will be the home of Jacksonville’s history.
St. Luke’s nurses though hospital trained were noted for their performance of duties and caring. Once the school closed hiring nurses for St. Luke’s Hospital continued with pride and admittance was much the same as choosing graduates from their school. A nurse that worked at St. Luke’s would forever be a St. Luke’s nurse. The Belfort Road facility boasted all private rooms and nursing care stations outside each patient room. Mayo Clinic began using the hospital in 1987 and St. Luke’s would forever be changed.
Patients came from all over to seek medical care at the St. Luke’s Hospital Mayo Clinic.
“You have a beautiful city here too bad it is so cold. I wish you were in southwest Florida I love this city.” Jacksonville lies in the northeast corner of Florida and is known for chilly winters.
Today the Jacksonville city hospitals are organized under four well known names: Baptist Health, St. Vincent’s Hospitals, Mayo Clinic and UF & Shands. Good bye to St. Luke’s was a journey that began in 1987 with advent of the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville and their taking over the new St. Luke’s Hospital on Belfort Road and Butler Boulevard and it ended this January when that hospital became St. Vincent’s Southside.