San Mateo County Genealogical Society's Blog featuring society events, projects, meeting notes and other items of relevance to genealogists.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

San Mateo County Places

St Matthew - San Mateo

                      Red Cross Hospital                                              


Is Red Cross Hospital in San Mateo familiar to you?  It wasn't to me,  or the other indexers that were working in the San Mateo County Record Repository, a few weeks ago either.  Yet many San Mateo County births took place there.  Barry went home and did a little research coming back with the fact that the Red Cross Hospital was the beginning of what is now Mills-Peninsula Hospital.

At the time of the Great Earthquake, there were no hospitals in San Mateo County.  The need became evident and St. Matthew Parish in San Mateo with the support and funding of Mrs. Elizabeth Mills Reid first started a "nurses" home with six beds in 1908.  Rather than try to tell a story that is so much better told in the records of the times, the intention of this post is to help you find some of the many articles that told the tale as it unfolded.

Start with  Nursing in Mission Stations: How a Small Hospital Was Started (American Journal of Nursing 1908 Vol 8, Issues 7-17 p705) where you will read about the installation of Beatrice Woodward, a trained nurse, as parish nurse at St. Matthews.




The American Red Cross Bulletin (Vol 4 pg 89) gives an account of the beginning of the cottage and the updated modern hospital that was opened in Feb of 1909.  You'll also find pictures of the dining room, the Red Cross Guild Ward and the operating room.

In their statistical report, Benevolent Institutions 1910 the Department of Commerce: Bureau of the Census (1913 Washington DC: Government Printing Office, p262) lists only Red Cross Hospital on the Peninsula as a benevolent hospital or sanitarium.






The Directory of San Mateo, Burlingame and Hillsborough for 1912  (p5) reported that the hospital was planning to expand at a cost of $100,000.

The American Red Cross Bulletin expands on that in Vol 8-9 page 193.  That volume has the picture of the hospital above as well as a picture of the sun room that was added to speed patient recovery.

On 31 Oct 1913 the Daly City Record reported that the Troy Laundry Machinery Co. agrees to install a laundry system in St. Matthew’s Red Cross Hospital at San Mateo in 60 days for $3285.

In 1916 The Modern Hospital (vol 7 p34) reported that Red Cross Hospital, San Mateo, CA was planning the addition of a maternity ward.

By 1921 the American Medical Journal (vol 76 p1088) reported five hospitals with 25 or more beds in San Mateo County.  In addition to Red Cross Hospital (45 beds) there was San Mateo County Hospital (60) in San Mateo, Canyon Sanitarium (36) in Redwood City, California Sanitarium (with 100 beds dedicated to TB,  the largest in the county) in Belmont, and South San Francisco Hospital (35).

While some sources state that the name changed to Mills Hospital in the "mid-teens," directories and vital statistic certificates show the name as Red Cross Hospital to about mid 1921.

The Red Cross hospital is just one of many institutions supported by St. Matthew in the early twentieth century.  The parish was also responsible for Bishop Armitage Orphanage, the Maria Kip Orphanage, the Church Divinity School of the Pacific Coast, St. Matthew's School for Boys and St. Dorothy's Rest.

   Links to further information on Red Cross Hospital   



   Links to further information about Elizabeth Mills Reid  



   Links to further information about St. Matthew Parish