Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas opened its doors in May 1966. The hospital was located out in the country, on a sloping hill dotted with pecan trees that had been the home of the Reynolds Presbyterian Orphanage since 1923. Today, the hospital is located in the heart of Dallas, surrounded by restaurants, shopping, neighborhoods and major thoroughfares.
The initial vision for Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas was born one Sunday in the spring of 1955. Dr. William M. Elliott Jr. had completed his sermon at Highland Park Presbyterian Church when Frank H. Kidd Jr., M.D. suggested to him that Dallas needed a new hospital affiliated with the church. Elliott had had the same idea, and a steering committee was formed that summer that eventually became the hospital's first board of trustees.
The four men considered to be the driving force of the organization and building of Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, from an initial dream to a great medical center, were Elliott and Kidd, as well as Toddie Lee Wynne Sr. and Roderic M. Bell, the hospital's first administrator.
In 1962, after seven years of planning, a $4 million fund drive was conducted for the hospital. After months of work, the campaign goal was exceeded by more than one-half million dollars; the amount raised was $4,678,440 — the largest pledged and collected drive ever held in Dallas. More than 5,000 people donated funds to build the hospital.
While the hospital was being built, the first employees prepared for its opening while working in the orphanage's old buildings. Only a dirt road led to the area, and almost everyone's car was stuck in the mud.
In the months preceding the opening of the hospital, employees found themselves scrambling to take care of details. The beds for the hospital arrived at the dock late one evening, and employees all pitched in to assemble them. In preparation for the opening, a number of Sisters from St. Paul Hospital arrived to help make the beds.
The hospital opened in May 1966 with 100,000 square feet of space (what is today known as the Main Building), 300 beds, 200 physicians and 175 employees. The first patient was Sammy J. Kines, a 25-year-old Mesquite fireman who was in for corrective surgery.