Initially, the Evanston (Emergency) Hospital was founded to serve the “needy sick” after outbreaks of typhoid fever and smallpox, meeting public health needs. Soon after its founding, the range of care expanded. In 1898, the new hospital opened, along with Evanston Hospital Training School for Nurses. The nursing school became affiliated with Northwestern University Medical School in 1911.
In 1907, the maternity ward opened, and by the 1920s, Evanston Hospital was known as a research hospital; during this time, research doctors on staff had isolated the scarlet fever bacteria. By the end of 1920, Evanston Hospital was a 250-bed facility covering all branches of medicine and surgery. By 1930 it was a well established suburban hospital dedicated to patient care.
The Evanston Hospital was incorporated in 1891, but opened its doors at 806 Emerson in 1893. In 1898 it was renamed Evanston Hospital and opened an 18-bed facility at 2650 Ridge along with a training school for nurses. By 1907 a maternity ward had opened and in 1918 it became a teaching hospital. It became affiliated with Northwestern University Medical School in 1930 and by 1953 was working with the Evanston Junior League to organize a “human milk bank” (lasted until 1975) to give sick or underweight patients the best chance of survival. In 1966 Evanston Hospital created a separate, clinical Department of Nursing, and had grown so large by 1988 that it purchased Evanston Community Hospital.
Evanston Hospital was founded to address public health issues, and the growth of the hospital coincided with the growth of Evanston, which by 1910 had a population of 25,000. Public health measures, such as improved sanitation and the 1914 opening of the water purification plant helped prevent the spread of typhoid fever, as did widespread immunization against diphtheria (1913) and scarlet fever (1923). On a national level, Evanston Hospital was a leader in nurses training, research, and its affiliation with NU medical school in 1930. Evanston Hospital also pioneered “primary” nursing care in 1971.