Laguna Honda Hospital celebrates 150 years

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Tucked in the western hills of San Francisco, Laguna Honda Hospital has cared for the city's neediest since the days after the Gold Rush.

Volunteers have assembled hundreds of photographs and artifacts dating back to Laguna Honda's birth as the city's Alms House. Established in 1866, it sheltered San Francisco's early homeless and destitute.

"It all stems from those early Gold Rush days, when San Francisco stepped up to the plate and said hey, 'We do take care of people' and it has continued to this day," says Louise Renne, a former San Francisco supervisor and longtime supporter of Laguna Honda.

The Alms House site was carved out of ranchland west of Twin Peaks. Its original residents grew much of their own food and even tended to a barn full of dairy cows. Later after the 1906 Earthquake buildings were expanded to include medical care. Patient logs and early instruments still survive in the new exhibit.

In the 2000s Renne and other supporters celebrated a major renovation that completed Laguna Honda's journey from Alms House, to modern medical facility.

"Laguna Honda is a publicly owned, publicly funded skilled nursing center. We are one of the very few in the country," Renne points out.

And 150 years after its birth, one thing at Laguna Honda remains unchanged, It's mission to care for people, who can't care for themselves.

Click here for details on Laguna Hondas anniversary celebration.

Written and produced by Tim Didion.
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