Once known as St. John’s Settlement, or San Juan del Misuri, Washington, Missouri, was part of the frontier. Even Daniel Boone’s family settled here in 1799. With the sale of land in the 1820s, families began to flock to Washington and soon it was a thriving transportation town. With the addition of all the people, there was quickly a need for health care.
When the 1918 flu epidemic in Washington clearly established a need for a hospital in the area, plans for construction began. However, it was not until 1926 that actual construction was completed. The three-story, 50-bed St. Francis Hospital, named for the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis who owned and staffed the facility, was located where the Mercy Doctors Building sits today.
Unfortunately, there was social and political turmoil surrounding the hospital for more than 40 years. The hospital changed hands often moving from religious orders to non-profit governing boards and back.
The history of the hospital took a turn for the better when in 1976, St. Francis Hospital merged with Mercy in St. Louis, bringing it under the management of the Sisters of Mercy. Sisters Elise Marie Graff, Mary Marthalene Joines and Mary Rosina Schopp eagerly moved to Washington. Since that day, there has been a Sister of Mercy at the hospital.
In 1982, the hospital was renamed St. John’s Mercy Hospital. Today, the 187-bed hospital continues to meet the needs of the region with 144 physicians on staff and 790 employees.