The Methodist Hospital of Southern California began operating in 1903 with five beds in a two-story house on Hewitt Street in downtown Los Angeles. The first patient was a Chinese woman. In 1909, the Women's Home Missionary Society of the Southern California Conference of the Methodist Church, founders of the hospital, began to raise funds for a new facility. The Society purchased the former mayor's residence at 2826 South Hope Street and determined that it was "just far enough out to be quiet, just close enough in for convenience."
The existing house was outfitted with 18 beds and used temporarily until a new 100-bed "thoroughly modern" facility was dedicated on the site in May, 1915 at a cost of $500,000. It was the first major hospital built in Los Angeles of reinforced concrete. At the time, the surrounding area was one of the most desirable residential neighborhoods in the city.
The Hope Street location was further expanded to 225 beds in 1925 at a cost of $600,000. The hospital was said to include "many modern conveniences - radio was wired to every bed so that all that is necessary for entertainment is to plug in."
Thanks to strong leadership, the hospital survived the financial challenges of the Depression years, and its prestige continued to grow. In 1951, it was approved for internship and residency training by the American Medical Association. The hospital's operating rooms were the first in Los Angeles to be air-conditioned, and Methodist also featured the first post-operative recovery room in the city. The postwar population shift to suburban areas of Southern California significantly altered the hospital's future prospects at its downtown location.
The existing facility was sold to Los Angeles County, and in 1957, Methodist Hospital reopened on a 22-acre campus in the Arcadia civic center, where a new $3 million, 138-bed facility had been constructed. This was the first community hospital built in California to include a psychiatric unit. In addition, the hospital's nursery school was one of the first corporate day-care facilities in the United States. A number of additions have been made during the intervening years to the original structure. A west wing opened in 1967, increasing capacity to 284 beds.
New surgical and laboratory/emergency/critical care additions followed. The 169-bed Berger Tower was completed in October, 1998. In September 2011, the hospital opened the North Tower with 120 medical surgical beds, 20 CCU beds, and an expanded emergency department with 28 beds and an additional 18-bed observation unit.