St. Luke's University Health Network


    • St Lukes Celebrates 140th Anniversary

St Lukes Celebrates 140th Anniversary

St. Luke's University Hospital - Bethlehem Celebrates
140th Anniversary of First Patient

140 Years of CaringBethlehem, PA (10/17/2013) – In the late 1860's and early 1870's, the Lehigh Valley was undergoing a dramatic change from a rural society into a center of industry. Workers in steel plants, explosives factories and cement mills were frequently injured on the job and required emergency health care. The nearest hospital was located in Philadelphia, a trip too far for many of the injured workers to survive.

In late 1871, the Reverend Courtland Whitehead, a rector of South Bethlehem's Episcopal Church of the Nativity, met with Tinsley Jeter, John Smylie and Robert H. Sayre of the Bishopthorpe School in Fountain Hill to discuss his vision of a small hospital in South Bethlehem to care for the injured. The original charter established St. Luke's as a hospital on March 29, 1872 and was finalized later that year. The hospital was funded with donations from leaders and members of the community, and labor was donated to refurbish the original building.

Providing High-Quality Care Since October 17, 1873

On October 17, 1873, the first patient was admitted to what was St. Luke's Hospital, nestled in the scenic hillsides in Fountain Hill borough/ Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Forty-seven patients were treated in the first year of operation.

As the area's first community hospital, St. Luke's has been providing cost-effective and high-quality care to patients, regardless of their ability to pay, for the past 140 years, according to Carol Kuplen, COO, St. Luke's St. Luke's University Hospital – Bethlehem and Chief Nursing Officer, St. Luke's University Health Network.

Growth to More Than 150 Sites in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

“From the beginning, St. Luke's has been uniquely positioned to meet the needs of the communities we serve,” said Kuplen. “Today is no exception. Beginning with a small hospital in the hills of South Bethlehem and Fountain Hill borough, to a Network providing services at more than 150 sites in Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Schuylkill, Bucks, Montgomery, Berks and Monroe counties in northeast Pennsylvania and in Warren County, New Jersey, St. Luke's University Health Network offers excellent care in a cost effective manner.”

Today, the St. Luke's University Health Network is comprised of six hospitals, 1,356 physicians on its medical staff (125 employed), primary and specialist care sites, various outpatient testing and service facilities, regional medical school campus, home health, inpatient and outpatient hospice services, the largest hospital-based EMS service in Pennsylvania and more than 1,650 volunteers. The Network is the second-largest employer in the region, with more than 9,300 employees.


Denise Rader
Director, Media Relations
St. Luke's University Health Network

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