Celebrating 125 years in Temple

This photograph shows Scott & White Memorial Hospital in 1966 on The Hill on South 31st Street.
An undated postcard (it had to be before 1922) shows Temple Sanitarium, which was renamed Scott & White Memorial Hospital in 1922.

Milestone marks agreement between Drs. Scott & White to start a private health-care facility


Baylor Scott & White Medical Center is celebrating its 125th anniversary of providing healthcare in Temple.

What started with a handshake and clinical partnership has evolved into a nationally recognized hospital and a large academic medical-care program at Baylor Scott & White Health.

The roots run deep

The roots of Baylor Scott & White run deep. Five years before the new private practice clinic opened, Santa Fe Railway Hospital, a facility that primarily served railroad workers in the Temple area, was built. It’s not the facility we know today. This structure was built of wood and was added on to at least twice, and around town it was referred to as  The Cow Shed because it resembled a barn.

Dr. Arthur C. Scott Sr. was hired as chief surgeon of the growing Santa Fe health-care facility in 1892 and three years later he hired Dr. Raleigh R. White Jr. as the house physician. The two became friends and shared common goals about the future of medicine in the still-new city of Temple.

It soon became apparent to both White and Scott that Temple needed a quality hospital for the general public — those not associated with the Santa Fe or Katy railroads. The two doctors formed a private practice in 1897 and rented the Temple Bank building Downtown, and the Scott & White era was under way.

In 1904, the pair opened Temple Sanitarium and Temple Sanitarium Training School for Nurses. Temple Sanitarium became Scott & White Hospital in 1922, and in 1954, the hospital’s 50th anniversary, it was announced that 340 acres had been purchased for a new hospital facility.

Once completed in December 1963, Scott & White Memorial Hospital moved south to 31st Street and became known locallly as “The Hill.”

“This quasquicentennial – an anniversary 125 years in the making – is a time to reflect on the significant impact that the original clinic, now hospital and academic program, has had on generations of families and healthcare providers in Central Texas and beyond,” said Shahin Motakef, president of BSW’s Central Texas Region.

“Very few institutions can claim that kind of legacy,” Motakef said. “As I walk the halls and speak with our physicians, our highly capable nursing staff and our dedicated employees from all disciplines, I am inspired by their spirit and can easily see another 125 years to come.”

Growing a legacy

From 1963 to 1999, Scott & White formed academic partnerships with the University of Mary Hardin Baylor and Texas A&M College of Medicine and experienced robust growth. In 2000, Scott & White clinic, Scott & White hospital and Scott & White Health Plan merged into the Scott & White Health System – the start of a new era for Central Texas healthcare.

In 2011, the doors to the free-standing children’s hospital, McLane Children’s Medical Center, opened to serve the rapidly increasing population in Central Texas.

Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s has maintained Level IV neonatal intensive care unit designation – the highest designation for premature infant care – and has achieved Magnet nursing designation and a Level II pediatric trauma designation.

Later, in 2014, BSW McLane Children’s expanded pediatric services with the opening of the 112,000-square-foot specialty clinic. Now covering 40 pediatric specialties, the medical staff provides care to thousands of patients annually and has a service area of up to 30,000 square miles across Texas.

“As the only pediatric provider in Central Texas between Dallas and Austin, our patients rely on us for primary, specialty and emergency medicine close to home,” said Dell Ingram-Walker, vice president and chief operating officer of BSW McLane Children’s Hospital.

“It is our privilege to care for children, and we are proud to grow alongside Baylor Scott & White – Temple to serve the needs of the community,” Ingram-Walker said.

The Scott & White Health System merged with Baylor Health Care in 2013.

At the time of the merger, the new not-for-profit entity consisted of 43 hospitals, more than 500 patient-care sites, more than 6,000 providers, 34,000 employees and the S&W Health Plan. Since 2013, BSW has grown to 51 hospitals and more than 1,100 access points.

The Temple medical center continues to reach milestones, open and announce new facilities and affiliations, and strengthen its ability to offer quality care close to home.

  • In 2020, BSW and Baylor College of Medicine announced an affiliation to enhance the organizations’ impact on the statewide effort to train more physicians. The first class of BCM medical students will start in 2023. Additionally, the affiliation will allow for opportunities to expand research and program development. The new medical school will replace Texas A&M Medical School, which will remain in Temple until 2024, then relocate to Dallas, Houston and other parts of the state.
  • In 2022, the Temple hospital was recognized as a 2022 Fortune/Merative 100 Top Hospital and was among the 15 Top Major Teaching Hospitals in the United States. BSW-Temple ranked No. 5 in the country and No. 1 in Texas.
  • The American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program has recognized BSW-Temple among the top 10 percent of Level 1 trauma centers in North America.
  • The 2022 U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” list ranked BSW-Temple No. 5 in Texas for medical expertise and good outcomes, with a national top 10 percent ranking for high-performing medical specialties, including cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology and GI surgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and lung surgery and urology.
  • In April 2022, the Glenda Tanner Vasicek Cancer Treatment Center in Temple opened a new radiation oncology facility that benefits Central Texas cancer patients. The two-story, 27,800-square-foot facility is adjacent to the cancer center and allows patients to receive all cancer treatments in one location. The facility can treat up to 70 patients per day and features advanced radiation treatment equipment.
  • The BSW-Temple heart transplant program recently reached a surgical milestone: 100 patients have received new hearts.

Strengthening community ties

While it was the railroad industry that brought Drs. Scott and White to Temple, today it is the community that drives the expansion of care.

“Baylor Scott & White Health is a pillar of Temple,” Mayor Tim Davis said. “I recognize the important role this organization plays in the health of our residents, which impacts the overall well-being of our community. Because many healthcare providers call Temple home, their patients are also their neighbors, which creates a unique interconnection between us all.”

Baylor Scott & White – Temple remains committed to putting patients and the community first by providing award-winning health and wellness services on the main hospital campus, the pediatric campus, a long-term care campus and through a network of area primary and specialty clinics, as well as pharmacies and outpatient centers.

The key to continued excellence is in the evolution of how care is offered, said Dr. Stephen Sibbitt, chief medical officer of BSW-Temple.

“We have an incredibly talented group of employees and physicians on the medical staff, who hail from a variety of backgrounds and experiences,” Dr. Sibbitt said. “Bringing their unique perspectives with them has enriched our facility and our community. We pride ourselves on offering a place to work that respects all voices and honors all experiences. Staff tell me that they feel they belong here, which is important to the care we all provide today and well into the future.”

Celebrating the past today

In honor of the hospital’s 125th anniversary, a new Heritage Hall will be unveiled in early 2023. Longtime Temple residents may recall the long basement hallway at BSW-Temple. That hallway is being modernized with new photos and informative signage, according to Jeffrey Swindoll, a librarian at BSW-Temple’s Richard D. Haines Medical Library and a hospital historian.

Soon after the hospital was built on 31st Street, Scott & White began placing photos of all doctors with at least 10 years tenure on the hallway walls. According to Swindoll, that practice ended for unknown reasons in the late 1990s.

“That hallway is being updated as Heritage Hall, and it will have doctor photos, plus information about folks like Claudia Potter, the first female doctor hired by Scott & White and the first female anesthesiologist in Texas,” Swindoll said. “And, of course, we will have information about the founding doctors as well.”

“The Hall also will have informative signs about the 2013 merger with Baylor,” he said. “The existing photos have been taken down, the walls have been painted and we are updating some of the lighting. The photos will be back up and some really cool stuff will be in place, hopefully by February.”

While the rich history of Temple and The Hill can never be shared fully in one walk down memory lane, this will be a nod to the success of medicine in Temple.

“As we celebrate this milestone for Baylor Scott & White – Temple, we honor the community that made this care possible and gave it the opportunity to continue to advance,” Dr. Sibbitt said.

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