Thursday, March 25, 2010

Old St. Luke's Hospital

Even though I live within spitting distance of St. Luke's Hospital on Valencia, I didn't notice the stately old building hidden behind trees (and a big stupid fence) high off the street until Gillian Gillett pointed it out to me. It's easy to miss because most of the campus is dominated by those dreadful buildings built later. But the older building, dating from the turn of the century, is worth wandering over. It reminds me of the scary state hospitals of a bygone era, imposing and elegant, but a little sinister too. For some reason the grand stairway leading to its front doors is closed off (Why? It should be freed up so neighborhood folks can enjoy that bit of open space). Peer through the fence to see the original hospital in its dignified splendor, framed by large trees, including the city's first designated heritage tree, a mammoth Monterey Cypress looming over the front wall.

To the left of the old hospital is a chapel of the same era. Gillian took me on a tour of it awhile back and I found it again today (it's not easy, there are no signs to tell you where to go, but it's on the second floor through the glass-walled weird lobby thing and up the elevator). So quiet, so soothing, a peaceful place of respite and worship for those wishing to pray for a sick loved one.

St. Luke's is now owned and operated by CPMC. After fighting to keep it open (CPMC wanted to close the only hospital south of Market Street, huh.) folks are still working to make sure the hospital continues to serve its community as it has for almost 140 years.

Here's a good place to get info about the on-going St. Luke's/CPMC tug-of-war:

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