Celebrating 70 Years of Community Spirit

Jun 2, 2016 | From the SVH CEO | 0 comments

I know I say it often, but it bears repeating that Sonoma Valley Hospital is a community hospital in the truest sense of the term. Community spirit has been part of our DNA for 70 years. It was evident in the creation of the Sonoma Valley Health Care District in 1946 following a vote by residents who decided that the Sonoma Valley needed a modern hospital operated under local control.

This year we are celebrating the District’s 70th anniversary with an open house and festivities on Saturday, June 11, from 10 am to 2 pm. I hope you will join us for guided tours, lunch and live music. There also will be an historical display and a number of activities for families with children.

Health Care Districts came into being in California in 1945, responding to a shortage of hospital beds in the State following World War II. Today, there are 78 Health Care Districts throughout California, many of which are the sole or main provider of health care in their communities.

Sonoma Valley's new hospital in 1957

Sonoma Valley’s new hospital in 1957

Sonoma’s new Health Care District board worked with community leaders to plan and build the hospital that opened on Andrieux Street in January 1957 on land donated by August and Sylvia Sebastiani.

When the hospital opened in January 1957, Robert Lynch, then editor and publisher of the Index-Tribune, said in an editorial: “The new hospital you will visit is in every sense a monument to community effort. A symbol of what a determined people, battling against fantastic and seemingly endless roadblocks, can accomplish.”

His sentiments were true then, and were echoed each time the community was asked to step up and support its hospital. It was evident when District and community leaders led efforts for subsequent expansions of the Hospital in 1967 and 1972. And this community spirit surfaced in 2013 when we completed the latest renovation, and also constructed a new wing housing a modern Emergency Department and Surgery Center funded through generous tax support from the community and a capital campaign that received strong donor support. 

It certainly takes a village to maintain a hospital, and we wish to acknowledge our community’s continued support, especially the contributions of our physicians, administration and staff, volunteers, District Board and Foundation Board members, and of course our many donors. Our deepest thanks for all that you continue to do to make ours a model community hospital.

We hope you will join us on June 11th to share in the celebration. You can find more information about the event here (link), along with information on SVH’s history.

In good health.


Kelly Mather
President and Chief Executive Officer
Sonoma Valley Hospital