At the turn of the twentieth century, Jefferson City was a thriving river town, both politically and culturally. For all the modern conveniences of a state capital, however, mid-Missourians seeking extended medical care traveled by river or trails to St. Louis or Kansas City.
Recognizing this need for a hospital, Reverend Otto J. Hoog, pastor of St. Peter’s Church, contacted the Archbishop of St. Louis, Most Reverend John J. Kain, who requested the Sisters of St. Mary to undertake the project. The Sisters of St. Mary had a legacy of providing for the poor and the sick, and Reverend Mother Mary Seraphia Schloctermeyer graciously agreed.
In late 1902, the church with the planning Jefferson City’s first hospital entrusted the Sisters of St. Mary, a religious order founded by Mother Mary Odilia and known today as the Franciscan Sisters of Mary.
Mr. And Mrs. Jacob F. Moerschel donated the land for the new hospital and a dollar to the Sisters in a deed that reads, “One dollar and love and affection for the Sisters of St. Marys and the feeling we have for the suffering of mankind.”
With this donation the Sisters began raising necessary funds to construct the hospital. A temporary hospital, consisting of two rooms for medical treatment and wooden boxes for tables and chairs, was established in a house on Elm Street in April 1904.
The cornerstone of the new $60,000 St. Marys Hospital was laid in May 1904, by the Very Rev. Otto J. Hoog, Vicar General. On October 1905, Jefferson City’s three-story hospital was dedicated by Archbishop John J. Glennon of St. Louis. Jefferson City now had its first hospital, a modern facility with 38 patient rooms, a pharmacy, operating rooms, x-ray, and consultation rooms.
More than a century of providing exceptional health care has brought many changes to St. Marys Hospital, including a name change in October 2014 and a relocation to a new state-of-the art facility in November 2014. Today, SSM Health St. Marys Hospital - Jefferson City is a faith-based, world-class, full-service hospital with 167 beds, extensive cardiology and open-heart surgery, a maternal and child care center, an oncology center, and a network of primary care clinics.
SSM Health St. Marys Hospital - Jefferson City has evolved to meet the demands of its patient population and the increasing complexity of health care. The physical structure of the hospital reflects this evolution. Construction and renovation represent St. Mary's Health Center’s commitment to acquiring the highest level of technology and increasing community demand for exceptional medical care. The first hospital in Jefferson City to offer open-heart surgery, SSM Health St. Mary's has taken a lead role in bringing state-of-the-art health care home to the community it serves.
Growth and change have transformed the Sisters’ fledgling hospital into a firmly established leader in health care. Yet the cornerstone of SSM Health St. Mary's philosophic foundation remains the same. It is a tremendous endeavor made possible through the support of the people who live in and around Jefferson City, who have helped to sustain the health center and to enrich the quality of care given. Members of the Medical Staff, Board of Directors and Regents, Foundation, Foundation Board, Auxiliary, Auxiliary Board and volunteers, hospital employees, and the community share in the triumphs of more than 100 years and will continue to help shape the delivery of SSM Health St. Marys Hospital - Jefferson City.