On the west side of Grand Boulevard, between Hickory Street and Park Avenue, is an impressive group of hospitals which are affilitated with the St. Louis University Medical Center. Oldest of these institutions is the Firmin Desloge Hospital, a 15 story structure at 1325 South Grand, which was opened in 1933. To the rear of Desloge Hospital is the next six story Bordley Memorial Pavilion, providing expanded hospital facilities, and a 15 story elevator tower which serves both buildings. On Vista Avenue to the west of the new Pavilion is the new ambulatory care Health Center, a three story structure containing specialty clinics and doctors' offices.
All of this represents a demonstration of the faith put into the Center in 1966, when it seemed to be doomed to failure or to a move to the county. Evidence of new construction is to be seen also in the medical school at Grand and Caroline, where a complete renovation is nearing completion. A new 6.6 million dollar medical school library and resource center is under construction and a new nursing school is soon to be started at Caroline Street and Carr Lane Avenue.
Another important part of the Center is the David P. Wohl Mental Health Institute at 1221 South Grand, which was opened in 1961 on the site of the old Battery "A" Armory. Cardinal Glennon Memorial Hospital for Children at the northwest corner of Grand and Park Avenue, while not directly under the University, is a major part of the Medical Center. It is administered by the Sisters of St. Mary and is the pediatric affiliate of the medical school. The hospital was opened in 1954 and an auxiliary building, Cardinal Glennon Hall at 1401 South Grand was completed ten years later. Also parts of the Medical Center are the New Hope Learning Center for retarded children and the Institute of Molecular Virology. The latter is located in a renovated streetcar barn at the western edge of the Center's campus. This Institute, which has had several expansions since locating at its present site about ten years ago, conducts research into the causes of cancer.
Bethesda General Hospital is an independent institution which is also affiliated with the Medical Center. It is located at 3655 Vista Avenue and re-opened in 1954 in its present modern building, to which additions were made in 1966 and 1975. Bethesda can trace its history back to 1889, when it was begun as a refuge for abandoned children by Doctor Edward W. Saunders. Dr. Saunders and his colleagues, Mr. and Mrs. Roger Hayne, rented the old Allen mansion at 917 Russell for Bethesda's first home. Living up to its name, which means "house of mercy" in Hebrew, its facilities were expanded to include a home for aged women in the old Soulard mansion at Twelfth and Soulard Streets. In 1892, a maternity home was opened followed by a nursing school in 1899. The present hospital site was donated in 1900 by Richard M. Scruggs, and two buildings, housing a short term care hospital and a maternity care and foundling home, were erected. They were razed in the early 1950's to make way for the present structure.
Missouri Pacific Hospital had its beginning about 1880, as a facility for Iron Mountain Railroad employees, in the old Henry T. Blow mansion at Virginia and Loughborough Avenues in Carondelet. The hospital was located at 1600 California Avenue from 1884 to 1922, at which time the railroad severed its relations with the hospital and it came under its present form of management. Its present building at 1755 South Grand Boulevard, was opened in 1923, with additions constructed in 1946, 1957 and 1970. It is now known as the Compton Hill Medical Center.
Missouri School for the Blind was founded in 1851 and became a state operated institution in 1855. After being located at several downtown locations, the school moved from Broadway and Howard Street to its present location in 1906. The only school of its kind in Missouri, it serves all legally blind children between the ages of 5 and 21 and maintains schooling from kindergarten through high school. Several additions were made to the original building in the 1940's and 1950's. In 1959, the present facade on Magnolia Avenue was completed.
Memorial Home for the Aged at Grand and Magnolia is built around the old Rene Beauvais mansion, which was erected in 1854. It is a fine example of the classic Greek Revival style with fine Corinthian columns and wrought iron work. In 1882, it was purchased for a home for Civil War Veterans by the Christian Women's Association. Since 1970, women have also been admitted as residents. Additions were made to the Home in 1900 and 1920. A former institution in the Shaw area was the Protestant Episcopal Orphans Home. It was founded in 1848 and moved to a building on the west side of Grand near Lafayette in 1873. This large mansard roofed building was erected on a lot which was donated by Henry Shawl It was razed about 1940, at which time the institution became an educational center, in a former infirmary building at 3621 DeTonty Street. That structure was sold to the State, for the right-of-way of Interstate Highway 44, about 1960. Still known as the Episcopal Home for ChilBren, it is now located at 6357 Clayton Road.
The southside branch of the Y.M.C.A. has been located at 2232 South Grand since 1936. Its building was extensively rebuilt in 1959. Kingshighway branch of the St. Louis Public Library at Vandeventer and Shenandoah Avenues was originally located at 4654 Shenandoah and occupied its present building about 1965. This structure was modernized and enlarged by the addition of an auditorium in 1974.