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History of Shriners Children's Salt Lake City

Established: January 22, 1925

Shriners Children's Salt Lake City opened its doors on January 22, 1925. To meet the immediate need for specialty orthopedic care in the Intermountain West, Shriners International leased 20 beds from St. Mark’s Hospital. This mobile unit provided treatment for children with a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions for more than two decades.

Demand for services continued to increase and Shriners Children's and Shriners International leaders authorized construction of a new hospital in 1945. An alternative site in Amarillo, Texas, was strongly considered before the property was obtained in 1946 through an act of Congress. President Harry S. Truman, a member of Shriners International himself, signed the document deeding approximately seven acres of land from the Fort Douglas military reservation to Shriners Children's and Shriners International. The new 40-bed hospital opened in 1951. The hospital contained two large wards – one for boys and one for girls – as well as a kitchen, school room, therapy rooms, a sun room, surgical facilities, living quarters for nurses and even an apartment on the top floor where the hospital administrator lived.

Transitioning to a New Building

By the 1980s, the building was no longer considered adequate. Shriners Children's and Shriners International leadership considered three options: moving to the campus of the nearby University of Utah, enlarging the current facility, or replacing it with a new hospital. Each option presented its challenges. The original land deed stated that upon vacating the property, ownership would revert to Salt Lake City. Utah Senator Jake Garn pushed a bill through Congress amending the terms of the original land deed, allowing Shriners Children's and Shriners International to sell the property and use the profits to construct a new building. Ultimately, leadership elected to demolish the 1951 hospital and constructed a new, $33 million hospital to the east of the old building. The facility opened debt-free in the fall of 1995. The state-of-the-art hospital included 22 semi-private patient rooms, an in-house prosthetics and orthotics lab, a hydrotherapy pool and therapy gym, a motion analysis center, a 3,000-square-foot indoor play area, three operating rooms and four apartments for patient families.

The Salt Lake City location has undergone subsequent improvements and renovations to accommodate the needs of the children, including transitioning to an outpatient facility in 2021. While the location and look of Shriners Children’s Salt Lake City has changed over the last 90 years, the commitment to caring for children has remained the same.

Location Highlights

  • 1925: Opening of Shriners Children's wing at St. Mark's hospital.
  • 1951: Shriners Children's Salt Lake City hospital is built.
  • 1957: World-renowned orthopedic surgeon Sherman S. Coleman, M.D., is made chief of staff.
  • 1959: Innovative procedures/research in Salt Lake City brings bone bridging surgery to the orthopedic community and spreads throughout the U.S.
  • 1995: New Shriners Children's Salt Lake City hospital opens.
  • 1995: Motion analysis center opens, one of only a few in the country.
  • 1997: Jacques D'Astous, M.D., brings mehta casting and halo traction in scoliosis care to Salt Lake City.

specialty pediatric care at shriners children's salt lake city

View More Salt Lake City Care Options

Orthopedics

Shriners Children’s provides the full spectrum of pediatric orthopedic care. It's everything from fracture care and casting for broken bones, to surgery and rehabilitation.

Pediatric Rehabilitation

Shriners Children's specializes in supporting your child physically, developmentally and emotionally to reach his or her pediatric rehabilitation and therapy goals.

Clubfoot / Club feet

Talipes equinovarus (TEV) is the medical term for "clubfoot," and Shriners Children's physicians are specialists in this common and treatable pediatric orthopedic condition.

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a condition where the spine is curved sideways. With advanced treatments and world-class expertise, Shriners Children's cares for more than 10,000 children with scoliosis each year

Motion Analysis

The specialists in Shriners Children’s motion analysis centers collect and analyze movement-related data, like gait analysis, to help treat children with neuromuscular, acquired or congenital disorders.

Wheelchair and Seating

Shriners Children's wheelchair, seating and mobility program is a custom seating clinic available to children with seating needs. Practitioners, technicians and volunteers use tools like seat simulation, pressure mapping and hands on adjustments.

We Understand the Unique Medical Needs of Children

We provide vital, pioneering treatment from birth to age 18. Here, children have the opportunity to be evaluated and treated by doctors recognized as the best by their peers.