On April 1, 1901, Children's Hospital Los Angeles was incorporated as the Childrens Hospital Society of Los Angeles - it began as a small house with only two bedrooms and four beds at the southwest corner of Alpine and Castelar streets, the former home of Civil War hero Gen. Edward Bouton, who had served with Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman and had been recognized for his leadership by President Abraham Lincoln.
At the end of its first fiscal year, Children's Hospital Los Angeles had admitted 14 children for ailments ranging from severe malnutrition and intestinal infections to burns and broken limbs, but by 1905, and despite limited facilities, more than 225 children were receiving care - most at no cost; others at reduced rates based upon their parents’ abilities to pay for services.
In 1906, Los Angeles resident Emma Phillips made provisions in her Will for a bequest of almost four acres of land in a largely undeveloped, remote part of the city at the southeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vermont Avenue in Hollywood, "recognizing the beneficent work now being done by the Childrens Hospital Society…and also recognizing the increasing needs of that Society in this city."
A year later, when a financial panic worried those responsible for the fledgling hospital, another exceptional leader stepped forward to guide Children's Hospital Los Angeles through the crisis. Over the next forty years as its president, Mrs. Albert C. Crutcher - most knew her as Kate - tirelessly moved Childrens Hospital toward the future, organizing the first guilds of volunteers - now known as the Associate and Affiliate Groups - that would become so important to raise much-needed money and supplies.
On Feb. 7, 1914, the new Children's Hospital Los Angeles was opened by President Woodrow Wilson, who presided over the ceremonies from The White House via telegraph.
As the decades passed, new services were added, buildings went up and came down, and Children's Hospital Los Angeles evolved to serve both more children and those with the most complex medical needs. At every critical point, remarkable leaders were there to help Children's Hospital Los Angeles attain the next level of care for the children and families of our community.
The names are legend, but none more so than Mrs. Gabriel C. Duque - most knew her as Mary Duque - whose name was synonymous with Children's Hospital Los Angeles for decades.