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Thursday, June 5, 2014

OLIVE VIEW HOSPITAL

BUILDING A GREAT MUSEUM FOR THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY

In the first decade of the 20th century, the north eastern areas of the San Fernando Valley were widely believed to have the best climate, and healthiest air, in America. For that reason, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini and her nuns established a boarding school in northern Burbank as a place of refuge for girls cramped into the dank sweatshops of the eastern seaboard. 
In 1920, a tuberculosis sanitarium was establhed in Sylmar, and was soon acclaimed to be one of the best such hospitals in the United States. During World War II Olive View was quietly prepared to received what was possibly thousands of wounded soldiers expected from an invasion of the mainland of Japan. This was true also of Birmingham Hospital (now Birmingham High School in Lake Balboa.) 

 The surgical wing of Olive View Hospital c. 1940 - Historic postcard - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2014.  (click on images to enlarge them.)

 A few of the Women's Wards: Olive View Hospital c. 1940 - Historic postcard - Gift to The Museum of the San Fernando Valley from Gary Fredburg 2014. 

With tuberculosis contained, the hospital complex was retooled as an acute care hospital in 1962, in which the first successful open heart surgery was performed in the San Fernando Valley. Many of the buildings and landscaping of Olive View Hospital were destroyed in the San Fernando Earthquake of 1971.

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