What if we could magically become time travelers and float back over the last century to see firsthand the development of Washington Adventist Hospital? If such a fanciful trip were possible, I suspect that it would not take long for us to realize that we have a lot in common with our pioneering colleagues. If we could revisit the moments from our history where the “San” grew in size and scope of service, I believe we would resonate with the emotions and motivating values that shaped the development of Washington Adventist Hospital.

I’m pretty sure I know how those pioneers felt as they expanded and improved the hospital. And I think they’d be just as excited as I am about the new hospital in White Oak.

The Washington Sanitarium rapidly outgrew the 40-bed building that was constructed in 1907. A makeshift maternity ward and delivery room were devised from the parlor and the sewing room. But that wasn’t enough. In 1918 a new building was constructed—and a new name was announced for the hospital: “Washington Sanitarium and Hospital.”

From our time-traveling vantage point we can see the mission of care that motivated the development of additional facilities. The Lisner Memorial wing was built in 1940. A six-story hospital expansion dramatically changed the institution in 1950. A five-bed coronary care unit was added in 1967. And in 1973, with the completion of a project that replaced or enlarged all major ancillary services, the name was changed again to Washington Adventist Hospital (WAH).

Now, more than 100 years since the first Sanitarium was opened in Takoma Park, the new hospital in the White Oak region is another opportunity to be of real help and service to our neighbors, and a contemporary and beautiful fulfillment of the vision and dream first brought to life so many years ago.

Next week: Innovations and Milestones