In 1894, Parkland Hospital began as a clapboard building on the corner of Maple and Oak Lawn avenues. Today, we are on the threshold of a 2.1-million-square-foot facility slated to open on Aug. 20, 2015. Medical technology and the size of our hospital have dramatically changed over the years, but our commitment to giving every patient the best possible care has deep roots.
Our rich history of care continues today through our skilled professionals. That is a responsibility we eagerly take on, because we know that the ultimate measure of our success is in the satisfaction we get from serving the people of Dallas.
For an interactive timeline of Parkland’s history, visit Parkland’s Facebook.
1872: Three Dallas physicians open the first permanent hospital to care for indigent patients in the midst of a “red light district" at Wood and Houston streets.
1872: The city of Dallas hires a physician to care for prisoners. After he finishes his rounds he treats paupers on the jail house steps.
1874: A new hospital is built on the corner of Columbia and South Lamar streets. It comprises a one-room, 25-by-50-foot house with an adjoining kitchen and a bathroom. All the patients — men, women and children — are bedded, fed and treated in one 18-bed ward, and surgery is performed there by lamplight.
1879: An 18-square-foot wooden building is added for female patients.
1885: The city of Dallas buys a two-room frame schoolhouse to enlarge the hospital.
1893: Voters approve $40,000 in bonds for a new hospital on 17 acres just outside the city limits at the intersection of Maple and Oak Lawn avenues.
May 19, 1894: Parkland opens in a group of frame buildings at Maple and Oak Lawn avenues.
1936: The Dallas City-County Hospital System is founded after passage of a state law authorizing incorporation of two tax-supported institutions — the general city hospital (Parkland) and the convalescent home in Hutchins. It also establishes a third hospital, Woodlawn, for the care of tuberculosis patients.
1939: Dr. Edward Cary and other prominent Dallas citizens organize Southwestern Medical Foundation to promote medical education and research.
1943: When Baylor University College of Medicine moved to Houston, the foundation created Southwestern Medical College and Cary became its first president.
July 1, 1943: The medical school holds its first classes at Spence Junior High School. Three months later, classes move into nine prefabricated barracks at 2211 Oak Lawn, across the street from Parkland.
1949: Southwestern becomes the second state-supported medical school in Texas, besting efforts from San Antonio and Temple.
April 26, 1952: Groundbreaking ceremonies are held for the new Parkland hospital at 5201 Harry Hines Blvd.
1954: Parkland becomes the first civilian hospital in Texas to use an artificial kidney machine.
Sept. 25, 1954: The first patients are transferred from the old Parkland to the new Parkland at 5201 Harry Hines Blvd.
Oct. 3, 1954: The new Parkland Memorial Hospital is officially dedicated.
Dec. 23, 1954: Dallas County voters overwhelmingly approve creation of the Dallas County Hospital District, which will operate Parkland.
Jan. 28, 1955: University of Texas regents dedicated the medical school’s first building, for basic sciences, at their location on Harry Hines Blvd.
1955: Parkland establishes its first kidney dialysis unit.
1955: Parkland performs the first corneal transplant in Dallas.
1956: Parkland develops one of the first nuclear medicine labs in the United States.
April 2, 1957: Parkland cares for 175 patients in two hours after a tornado ravages Dallas.
1957: Parkland acquires a cineangiofluorograph, the first X-ray machine in the U.S. capable of shooting simultaneous front and side views of a beating human heart, and performs the first open- and dry-heart surgery in Dallas, replacing a missing wall in a 7-year-old girl’s heart.
1958: Parkland opens a four-story outpatient clinic.
1959: Parkland begins Texas’ first medical service for pediatric infectious diseases.
1961: Parkland opens one of the largest civilian burn units in the U.S., designating four, four-bed wards as a burn treatment area.
1962: Parkland’s Emergency Room becomes a model system with the nation’s first nurse-directed triage system under the direction of Head Nurse Doris Nelson.
1962: Parkland offers the first seven-day, 24-hour staffed operating room in North Texas.
Nov. 22, 1963: President John F. Kennedy is brought to Parkland after he is shot by an assassin.
Nov. 5, 1964: A team led by Dr. Paul Peters performs Texas’ first successful kidney transplant. Ten-year-old Mary Freeman receives a kidney from her identical twin, Nancy.
1966: The surgery and anesthesiology staffs at Parkland and UT Southwestern publish the first medical text on trauma.
1968: Parkland opens the fourth Surgical Trauma Unit in the U.S.
1969: Parkland opens a four-bed Cardiopulmonary Intensive Care Unit.
1971: Parkland opens the first High Risk Maternity Unit in the nation.
1971: Parkland opens the first Pediatric Burn Unit in North Texas.
1972: Parkland opens a new Surgical Intensive Care Unit.
1972: Parkland opens a new adult Burn Intensive Care Unit.
1973: Parkland begins using nuclear medicine imaging for heart attack victims.
1973: Parkland opens the first Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Dallas.
1973: Parkland opens the first Neurology/Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit in Dallas.
1973: Parkland, the medical school and Dallas police begin providing free, 24-hour emergency medical care for rape victims. The service offers women prompt, well-documented medical exams that stand up in court as evidence.
1973: The Dallas Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services, a centralized system coordinating Dallas ambulances and emergency vehicles, begins operations with medical control at Parkland. The system dramatically improved survival rates from serious trauma and life-threatening emergencies.
January 1974: The old 143-bed hospital at Maple and Oak Lawn avenues is closed, with all services transferred to Parkland.
1978: A patient care committee is formed to review Medicare and patient service studies and to look at ways to ensure Parkland’s long-term viability.
1979: Parkland diabetic patients became the first in North Texas to use insulin infusion pumps.
November 1979: The Board of Managers, under the leadership of Ralph Rogers, asks County Commissioners to call an $80 million bond election to build the north tower and a new outpatient clinic, and to otherwise modernize the hospital’s aging facility. Voters approve the package in 1980 and construction begins in 1981.
1982: The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit enlarges to 85 bassinets.
1983: Parkland is certified as the first Level I Trauma Center in Texas.
1983: Parkland is the first hospital in the Southwest to clinically use nuclear magnetic resonance imaging by evaluating a patient with kidney failure.
1984: Parkland opens the first Pediatric Trauma Center in the United States planned and designed specifically for treating seriously injured children.
1984: Parkland opens the Epilepsy Treatment Center.
1984: The North Texas Poison Center begins a 24-hour hotline staffed by registered nurse specialists.
1985: Parkland plays a leading role, with state lawmakers Jesse Oliver and Ray Farabee and Farabee’s wife, Helen, in passing legislation to ban “patient dumping” – the practice of transferring medically unstable patients because of inability to pay. The document became a model for national legislation signed into law on April 7, 1986, by President Ronald Reagan.
Aug. 2, 1985: Parkland treats 21 patients from the crash of Delta Flight 191.
1986: Parkland is the first hospital in North Texas to establish an Arrhythmia Management Center for heart patients.
1986: Parkland establishes a photopheresis program for treatment of T-cell lymphomas — a type of skin cancer.
1986: Parkland opens a chronic dialysis center for patient care, teaching and research.
1988: Parkland opens an Acute Stroke Research Unit.
1988: Parkland formally institutes a Trauma Department to coordinate trauma care from the scene of the trauma through rehabilitation.
1989: Parkland begins the Community Oriented Primary Care program, with the first of a network of neighborhood clinics constructed in South Oak Cliff.
1994: Parkland is named winner of the Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service for Community Oriented Primary Care, a model outreach program providing comprehensive preventive and primary care in low-income neighborhoods of Dallas.
Sept. 1, 1995: After a four-month trial period, all patients under age 13, except pediatric burn patients, are treated at Children’s Medical Center.
1996: The name of Parkland Health & Hospital System is approved. The system is comprised of Parkland Memorial Hospital, Community Oriented Primary Care, Parkland Community Health Plan, Inc. and Parkland Foundation.
1998: Healthy quintuplets, four boys and one girl, arrive at Parkland on June 8, making them the second set of quints born in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The first set of four girls and one boy were born at Parkland on July 18, 1975.
1999: With a $1 million grant from The Harold Simmons Family Foundation, Parkland Violence Intervention and Prevention Center is established to care for patients whose lives have been affected by violence.
2000: Omniflight’s Lifestar names the Level I trauma center at Parkland “home base” for one of its BK117 helicopters.
2000: Budget woes cause the voluntary reduction and restructure of management and management support staff by 200 positions and changes the way Parkland charges patients for outpatient prescription drugs.
2000: A palliative care team is organized at Parkland to provide needed support and pain relief for terminally ill patients.
September 11, 2001: Parkland goes on heightened alert in the aftermath of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
December 2001: The Geriatrics & Senior Services Center opens.
November 2008: Dallas County voters overwhelmingly voted by 82 percent to support the construction of a new hospital partially funded through bond proceeds.
2009: Parkland’s sale of more than $700 million in Build America Bonds is a regional winner in The Bond Buyer’s 2009 Deal of the Year Awards.
2010: Parkland’s Electroencephalography Lab (EEG) receives full accreditation from the American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists. Parkland is one of only four accredited labs in Texas.
October 2010: Parkland breaks ground on a new $1.27 billion campus.
June 2012: Parkland opens the E. Carlyle Smith, Jr., Health Center in Grand Prairie, its 12th community-based clinic.
2013: Parkland received the 2013 UHC Supplier Diversity Leadership Award for the development and implementation of an outstanding supplier diversity program.
2013: The Tower parking garage on the campus of new Parkland hospital is awarded the LEED® Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, which sets voluntary standards for buildings.
March 30, 2015: More than 400 community leaders, faith-based representatives, elected officials and donors joined Parkland staff for the dedication of the new state-of-the-art hospital to the residents of Dallas County.
June, 2015: The new Parkland Memorial Hospital is awarded the LEED® Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership.
Aug. 20, 2015: The new Parkland Memorial Hospital officially opens its doors to patients. The state-of-the-art 862-bed, 17-story structure largely replaces the aging Parkland Memorial Hospital that opened in 1954.
2015: The Leapfrog Group names Parkland to its annual list of Top Hospitals. Parkland is one of only 98 Top Hospitals recognized in The Leapfrog Group’s annual survey. The selection is based on the results of The Leapfrog Group’s annual hospital survey, which measures hospitals’ performance on patient safety and quality, focusing on three critical areas of hospital care: how patients fare, resource use and management structures established to prevent errors.