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Cottage Health - Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital - 125 Year Anniversary

What's Your Moment?

Share your story with us. Send an e-mail to mystory@sbch.org and tell us about your most memorable moment in your shared history with Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

As we prepare to celebrate our 125th anniversary, we look at some of the moments that live on to shape our future.

A moment of Inspiration

In 1888, Mary Ashley envisioned better health care for the community she called home. She began work with a group of women to establish a hospital that would meet the highest standards of its time. Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital opened in 1891, with Mary Ashley elected as its first Board President. Now, 125 years later, the hospital continues to thrive with the same spirit of community support that led to its founding.

Our Doors Have Never Closed

Since its official opening on December 8, 1891, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital has never closed its doors. Caring for patients through challenging times — the 1918 flu epidemic, the 1925 earthquakes, and various floods and fires — we’ve also been privileged to share some of the brightest moments, welcoming tens of thousands of babies into the community.

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Nurses with Dr. Jane Spaulding (second from right)
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Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, circa 1891
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Alice Keck Park
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Mary Ashley

A Pioneer in Medicine

Dr. Jane E. Spaulding was the first superintendent of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, forging a path for future generations of female physicians. She treated patients, trained nurses, managed the hospital and even provided oversight for the hospital’s farm, as the hospital grew some of its own food. She retired in 1911 and was an honored guest when the hospital opened a new, modernized facility in 1913.

One Gift that Changed Everything

Alice Keck Park made a single decision that continues to benefit the health of our community. In 1953, Park began making regular donations to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital—a $500 gift to the Building Fund, followed by generous annual gifts, the first of which provided funds for a new surgery suite given in memory of her husband.

When she died in 1977, she named three local not-for-profit organizations as the beneficiaries of her estate — one was Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Wishing to safeguard the funds and make them meaningful for future generations, the hospital’s Board of Directors established the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Foundation in 1982 and established guidelines that would allow the gift to grow in perpetuity. In the years since it has helped to develop medical services and community programs well beyond the scope of a typical community hospital.

For 125 years, our hospital has been shaped by the generosity of the patients and families we care for every day. We celebrate Alice Keck Park and each of our generous donors for their spirit of giving to create positive change for others.

National Leader in Hospital Care

Cottage Health - CMS 5 Star Rating for Quality

Only 2.2 percent of hospitals evaluated earned the government’s first-ever 5-Star rating for overall quality and safety. Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital were two of them.

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