Our History

In 1895, Sisters of Charity Balbina Farrell and Louisa Madden left Leavenworth, Kansas, on a mission to establish a hospital in the new western town of Grand Junction, Colorado. St. Mary's, a small, 10-bed, wooden frame hospital, opened on May 22, 1896.

  • 1896: St. Mary's, a small, 10-bed, wooden frame hospital opens.
  • 1912: a new brick wing opens adding 20 beds to the hospital's capacity. The addition was built east of the original wood hospital, with the building's front facing north on the 1100 block of Colorado Avenue.
  • 1924: a new wing adds 30 beds, bringing the bed count to 80, and classroom space to St. Mary's.
  • 1940s: St. Mary's establishes the Regional Blood Bank and is designated a cancer detection center for western Colorado.
  • 1951: New St. Mary's Hospital opens. Mesa State College donates the 15-acre tract of land at Patterson Road and North 7th Street where St. Mary's stands today; community donations help fund the new hospital building.
  • 1977: St. Mary's begins a new family practice residency program. In 1978, the A. M. Gould Family Practice Center at St. Mary's Hospital, opens at 2333 North Sixth Street to house the residents.
  • 1985: 125,000-square-foot addition houses radiation oncology, a 24-bed critical care unit, a telemetry and intermediate care unit, 20 pediatric care beds, and a perinatal center. St. Mary's emergency air transport program, is started.
  • 1986: St. Mary's develops a heart program that includes a cardiovascular heart catheterization laboratory; St. Mary's Heart Center provides the first open-heart surgery and postoperative care without traveling 250 miles to Denver.
  • 1988: St. Mary's Mammography Center opens, providing early breast cancer detection.
  • 1989: western Colorado's first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) becomes available at St. Mary's Hospital. St. Mary’s acquires senior meal program Gray Gourmet, previously operated by Catholic Social Services, Community Systems Institute, and Mesa County. 
  • 1994: supported by a $2.5 million community fund-raising campaign, an $8 million, five-story patient care tower is completed.
  • 1995: a medical office building is added to the hospital complex; St. Mary's acquires the inpatient and home health services of Hilltop Rehabilitation Hospital, eliminating duplication of services in the community.
  • 1998: St. Mary's adds the Life Center to its outpatient facilities with rehabilitation and therapeutic services for adults and children.
  • 2000: with area physicians, St. Mary's opens the Grand Valley Surgical Center, an outpatient alternative for many surgical procedures.
  • 2003: the Advanced Medicine Pavilion opens moving most outpatient services away from the busy hospital campus. The Pavilion houses St. Mary's Regional Cancer Center, outpatient imaging services, and the Regional Blood Center.
  • 2005: a multi-story parking structure opens, solving the longtime parking shortage for patients and visitors.
  • 2010: The new construction phase and remodel phase of the Century Project, the hospital's multi-year expansion and renovation project, completed.
  • 2012:  St. Mary’s joined more than 260 hospitals nationwide in using the Epic electronic medical records (EMR) system. EMR systems allow all medical professionals caring for a patient to quickly and efficiently consult and communicate test results, medical orders, and any information relevant to the patient’s care and recovery. St. Mary’s also added the latest generation da Vinci® Surgical System—a tool that gives surgeons an improved view of the surgical area and lets them use surgical instruments with greater agility and stability. The latest da Vinci model includes a special imaging system that distinguishes between healthy tissue and cancerous tissue, allowing St. Mary’s surgeons to identify and remove cancer cells with increased precision. In October St. Mary’s was awarded advanced certification as a Primary Stroke Center, confirming that St. Mary’s meets the American Stroke Association’s standards for caring for stroke patients. With a stroke-trained neurologist on staff and a telemedicine relationship with Swedish Medical Center in Denver, a stroke specialist is always available.

As St. Mary's celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1996, its leaders recommitted to the renowned statement of Sister Xavier Ross, founder of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. In all St. Mary's actions, we will: "... look forward to the good that is yet to be."

Throughout our history, the generosity of western Coloradans has enabled St. Mary's to grow to meet healthcare needs. Contributions of land, funds, time, and talent allowed us to keep pace with an expanding population and medical advances.