Baptist Health 100 Years Since 1921

100 Years of All Our Best

“When the Arkansas Baptist State Convention incorporated Baptist State Hospital in 1921, it made a commitment to provide quality, faith-based care that continues today. Through 100 years, we have stayed true to that original mission and remain committed to delivering on that promise into the next 100 years.

“Our 100-year anniversary represents a century of responding to health needs with Christian compassion and personal concern. The story of Baptist Health is the story of people working to advance quality health care for the communities we serve, overcoming challenges to achieve significant developments in health care and being there for every single patient who needs us.”

–– Troy Wells, President and CEO of Baptist Health

For more insights from Baptist Health’s President & CEO on the State of Care, click here.

Anticipating Further Growth

In 1968, the original site selected for the new Baptist Medical Center was located near the intersection of University Avenue and Evergreen streets (the present location of the Tower Building) in Little Rock. Plans were moving forward, including erecting a site sign, when the Board of Trustees concluded the site didn’t allow enough space for future expansion and selected the present site, which was at that time on the far west outskirts of Little Rock.

Honoring a U.S. President

When the newly constructed Baptist State Hospital opened in 1925, the east wing was designated as the Harding Wing—named for Warren G. Harding, the 29th president of the United States. Former governor Charles Brough spearheaded a campaign to raise $150,000 for the wing and name it in honor of the nation’s first Baptist president.

Pioneer in Incubator Use

Baptist State Hospital using an incubator for a premature baby in 1927 was somewhat groundbreaking in Arkansas because the treatment didn’t gain wide acceptance in the medical community until the 1930s and 1940s. Dr. Étienne Stéphane Tarnier first developed an incubator in 1880, but Dr. Martin Couney is credited with bringing them to the public’s attention in the early 1900s when he began setting them up at expositions and amusement parks.

From Work – To Work Again

Construction delays on the west Little Rock location created a budget problem and drained the reserves that had been set aside for the move. Former Baptist Health President & CEO Russ Harrington recalled, “When it came time to move, we couldn’t afford to hire movers. So we [the staff], had to move everything…We would do our regular jobs, quit about 4:30, go change into our jeans and work clothes, load 18 wheelers, move them out of here, unload them, quit about 11:30 or 12:00 at night. Same thing the next day, and the next day, and the next day.”

Amazing Stories From Our Staff & Our Community

Jerrie Jones

Employee, Baptist Health-Fort Smith

Thank you Baptist Health for making me comfortable with who I am as a Christian in my everyday walk.

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Tamara Wright

Employee, Baptist Health

All the while, Baptist Health has been a mainstay and very good to me and my family.

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Cheri Smith

Employee, Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock

I credit God and Baptist Health for saving my life.

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Katie Sanchez

Employee, Baptist Health

They knew I was scared and overwhelmed, and they did everything they could to help.

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Do you have a Baptist Health story to share with us?

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