The original Alameda County Infirmary, the first public hospital in the East Bay and predecessor
to Fairmont Hospital of the Alameda County Medical Center (1893) 1

Oakland’s tired, poor, sick citizens used to be sent away … to the Alameda County Infirmary (1864-1919) in the hills above San Leandro. In 1919, the Infirmary was given a new name, Fairmont Hospital.

According to the 1887 Oakland Directory, the County Infirmary was “located about twelve miles from Oakland, between San Leandro and Haywards. It affords a home for the indigent aged and infirm, and a hospital for the needy, friendless sick of Alameda County. During the year 1885 (inclusive of the number on hand at the commencement of the year) there were admitted 632, of which number 169 were natives of the United States and 321 of foreign birth. Number of births during the year, 8.”

The hospital was in San Leandro, not Oakland, but was vitally important as all of Oakland’s indigent, old, mental ill, ‘foreign’ = Chinese, etc. were sent here. Much wheeling and dealing went into obtaining the land and having the hospital as far away from Oakland as possible. The great distance that poor people had to be transported for medical care partly inspired the creation of Fabiola Hospital.

Beginning in 1889, Dr. Adam Shirk was in charge of the infirmary.

Links and References

  1. Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room and Maps Division
  2. Picture of Fairmont Hospital in San Leandro by Cynthia Vrilakas Simons