Our History

Virginia Mason was founded in 1920, when a group of physicians decided to pioneer a new approach in a medical practice. Their goal: to work as one team. They pledged to provide the finest patient care possible by working together, asking only the best and brightest to join their team and committing themselves to lifelong learning and research.

The founding physicians pooled their energies and resources and built an 80-bed hospital at the corner of Spring and Terry avenues in Seattle, Washington. Through the years, their vision of providing patients with comprehensive medical care—all from one trusted place—has flourished.

1920: Virginia Mason Hospital opens with six physician offices.

1922: Hospital expands its maternity department.

1922: Virginia Mason's School of Nursing admits the first of hundreds of students educated in the program, which, 35 years later, became affiliated with the University of Washington.

1940s: Virginia Mason becomes one of the first hospitals in the nation to allow fathers in the delivery room.

1956: Research center opens and attracts talented researchers.

1960: The best-selling book The Intern is written by Alan Nourse, MD, a Virginia Mason intern.

1985: The region's first lithotripter, for treating kidney stones without surgery, is installed.

1992: Bailey-Boushay House, a facility to care for people living with AIDS, opens and is managed and staffed by Virginia Mason.

1999: Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, a state-of-the-art facility, opens.

2008: Virginia Mason Institute established to provide education and training in the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS) to other health-care providers and organizations.

2016: Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital affiliates with and becomes part of Virginia Mason Health System. Memorial’s name is later changed to Virginia Mason Memorial

Where did the name “Virginia Mason” come from?

Actually, our name has its genesis in two young girls—both named Virginia Mason. One of the founders, Dr. Tate Mason, had a daughter named Virginia. His partner, Dr. John Blackford, also had a daughter named Virginia Mason Blackford. And if that weren't enough, both physicians graduated from the University of Virginia.