In the late 1940s, Seattle was desperately short on hospital beds. Seven of the eight general hospitals in Seattle at the time were concentrated downtown. North End residents worried that, in a major emergency, the bridges linking the north and south ends of the city could be destroyed, leaving it virtually impossible for them to reach one of these facilities. Worse yet, an atomic attack, which was greatly feared at that time, could destroy all the hospitals in one blow since they were all close to one another. At the recommendation of state health planners and the Atomic Energy Commission, plans were made to build new hospitals in the suburbs, including Seattle’s booming North End, where people were settling in increasing numbers.

After years of intensive fundraising, the new hospital opened in 1960, and almost immediately began to expand. Highlights of Northwest Hospital’s history include:

For $33,000, the “Community Memorial” Hospital Association purchases the 33 acres on which to build the hospital from Budget Homes

July 6, 1959
Construction begins

July 23, 1959
Groundbreaking ceremonies are held

September 22, 1960
The sparkling new hospital opens for business

September 23, 1960
First baby born at Northwest Hospital, a 7 lb. 6 oz. boy

February 8, 1961
The hospital is at capacity for the first time

Physical Therapy opens
At the time of the hospital’s second birthday, the hospital admits its 20,000th patient

Radioisotope Magna Scanner added
Northwest Professional Center opens
Childbirth classes start for prospective parents

The 10,000th baby is born at Northwest Hospital

Comprehensive Rehabilitation Program begins
Inhalation Therapy Department opens
Northwest breaks its own record for the most babies in one month with 250th baby born
Speech and Language Clinic opens.
First hospital addition (D-Wing) opens and serves as the Coronary Intensive Care Unit

Speech and Language Clinic begins a diagnostic and therapeutic program for hearing disorders.

Stroke Center begins operation
Progressive Care Center (PCC) opens

Surgery doubles in size
Northwest is the first in Seattle to provide a birth suite for labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum care (LDRPs)

Nuclear Medicine opens

Emergency Department is expanded with 2,000-square-foot addition

Medical Arts Building is constructed

October 4, 1977
Northwest Hospital Foundation established

September 20, 1980
20th anniversary of the opening of Northwest Hospital
Groundbreaking for the hospital tower

Tower opens, doubling the square footage of the hospital

Medical Office Building opens

Separate facility for day surgery opens
Physicians at Northwest Hospital pioneer prostate cancer treatment with ultrasound-guided radioactive seed implants

Easy Street Environments for rehabilitation opens

Northwest is the first hospital in the region to offer non-surgical treatment of brain tumors through the use of Gamma Knife®

Northwest is voted “Best Place to Have Baby” by readers of Seattle’s Child

Remodeled lobby and expanded Emergency Department opens

Northwest opens Advanced Surgical Suites for minimally invasive surgical procedures

Northwest Hospital introduces DynaCT angiogram technology to the Pacific Northwest
New bariatric surgery program begins treating patients.

Northwest Hospital begins to offer robotic surgery with the daVinci S Robotic Surgical System
Northwest Hospital earns its first HealthGrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Patient Safety
Seattle Breast Center converts to all-digital mammography
Staff begin to use electronic patient medical records and computerized, bedside medication reconciliation

Northwest Hospital and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance sign agreement to build region’s first proton beam therapy center for cancer treatment
Northwest Hospital Sleep Center opens

Northwest Hospital launches hyperbaric oxygen therapy for advanced wound care
The Community Health Education & Simulation Center opens its doors to provide high-tech health education to healthcare providers, students and the community
Northwest Hospital surgeons perform nation’s first Esophyx procedure for GERD