Public invited to submit contributions for Grossmont Hospital history book

A final push is underway to locate any old photographs, faded newspaper clippings, promotional materials and other historical documents for possible inclusion in a yet-to-be-published book chronicling the history of Grossmont Hospital and Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD).

“The public is invited to submit items that might be included in this history book,” said Michael Emerson, GHD board president. “If you think it’s interesting and relevant, then we’d like to see and preserve it. We hope many East County residents will participate by contributing to this exciting historical project.”

The hospital in La Mesa admitted its first patient in August 1955, although the effort to build a modern hospital in the East County can be traced back to the 1920s. GHD was formed in 1952 to build and operate Grossmont Hospital, fulfilling this community need. Today, GHD serves as landlord of the hospital, including ownership of the property and buildings on behalf of local taxpayers. The hospital is managed and operated by Sharp HealthCare under a lease agreement with GHD.

La Mesa resident and historian Jim Newland is authoring the book, with the working title “Grossmont Hospital, 65 Years of Service.” Newland, a longtime resident steeped in city history, is president of the La Mesa Historical Society. He has authored local histories of La Mesa and the Mt. Helix areas and served on the city’s Centennial Committee in 2012, and since 2014 on the La Mesa Planning Commission.

“We would also welcome typewritten narratives of individual recollections of the time when you or your relatives worked or were involved in the hospital and district,” Newland said. “Our goal is to not only tell the facts of the hospital and healthcare district, but also to share relevant stories of the people who worked, struggled and gave of their time and energy to help this significant institution make a positive difference in our community. While we’re not sure whether these stories will be included in the book, they may be preserved in both the hospital and La Mesa Historical Society archives for future generations.”

Barry Jantz, GHD CEO, said the District would especially be interested in obtaining more recent hospital-related photographs dating from the late 1980s and the decade of the 1990s. “Most of the existing hospital historical collections pre-date the 1980s, so gathering materials from the last 25 or 30 years could benefit both the book and archives,” said Jantz.

Deadline for submission of materials is May 15. Items can be mailed or emailed to the Grossmont Healthcare District, 9001 Wakarusa St., La Mesa, 91942, or info@grossmonthealthcare.org. GHD officials request that only photocopies or scanned copies be submitted, as original materials will not be returned to the original owner. Please identify all people in photographs, if known, and any information relating to the image or item. For possible future follow-up or clarifying questions, clearly state your name, address and phone number on anything submitted.

GHD officials said the book’s release is scheduled for the end of this year. Pre-orders will be accepted closer to that time and details are currently being worked out.