Young doctor William Beall “W. B.” Carrell returns to Dallas after World War I
Trained in general surgery at Southwestern Medical School, Dr. Carrell set his sights on a career as an orthopedic surgeon while serving on the battlefields of World War I treating U.S. servicemen with traumatic injuries. At around the same time, the polio epidemic was becoming more widespread, and the field of orthopedics, focusing on injuries and disorders of the skeletal system, was in its infancy.
W. B. Carrell, M.D., establishes original Carrell Clinic
The first orthopedic surgery practice in Dallas, the original structure is an eight-bed clinic on the first floor of a simple house on Junius Street, with Dr. Carrell’s living quarters on the second floor. Inspired to make a broader impact, he eagerly answered the call of a group of Texas Masons who approached him about providing care without charge to children with polio, also known as infantile paralysis, as the crippling effects of this disease left young patients with significant orthopedic challenges. The clinic is soon seeing 35 pediatric polio cases each week.
Dr. Carrell and Masonic Fraternity leaders determine need for hospital facility
As word continues to spread, the case load increases, and soon the Carrell Clinic has treated 500 children with 1,000 applications waiting from 150 Texas counties. Texas Masons generously raise $20,000 to purchase the land and another $100,000 to build a hospital to treat these young patients. Chartered in 1921 and constructed in 1922, the first Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children is built on three acres at the corner of Oak Lawn and Maple Avenues, adjacent to the Carrell Clinic.
New hospital construction completed and facility dedicated
The original hospital structure is a two-story red brick building with a 15-bed patient ward. On the day the hospital is dedicated (November 15, 1923), it became one of the nation’s finest polio treatment facilities. Polio cases are admitted first to Parkland or Baylor Hospitals until the contagious stage has passed. Then they are referred to Scottish Rite for Children for therapy, bracing and surgery. Dr. W. B. Carrell becomes the first Chief of Staff of the hospital, overseeing the medical program and operations.
Famous face visits hospital patients
One common thread throughout the history of the hospital has been the outpouring of support and compassion our young patients have received from community friends, dignitaries, celebrities, athletes and well-wishers. Famous visitors to the hospital can be found as far back as the earliest days of Scottish Rite, when Charlie Chaplin made an appearance at the hospital to brighten the children’s day.
Texas Scottish Rite Masons assume financial responsibility for hospital
The newly elected Board of Trustees establishes an endowment fund to ensure the longevity of the institution. Since its inception, Scottish Rite has epitomized the spirit and principles of Freemasonry, dynamically expressing the Masons’ love for their fellow man, their compassion for the sick and the quest to find that which has the most worth in the world. By establishing the hospital and securing its future, their quest was preserving and improving the lives of children with polio and other musculoskeletal conditions.
Favorite mode of hospital transportation debuts
Since the hospital’s inception, one iconic image has endured over the decades – the red wagon. A delightful mode of transportation for our patients and a helping hand for families and caregivers, red wagons can be seen around the hospital campus on a daily basis. Generous donors have gifted the hospital with these colorful reminders of childhood that are appreciated and well-used by patients and their families.
Outdoor healing on hospital grounds
Caring for children with polio often meant enduring treatment designed to straighten and correct afflicted muscles and limbs. The thought was that exposure to fresh air and sunlight was beneficial as part of the healing process. As a result, many images from the early years of the hospital feature caregivers and patients engaged in outside activities as part of their treatment plan.
Successful outcomes lead to surge in patients
The decade of the 1930s was one of exponential growth for Scottish Rite. By 1933, the total number of patients treated reaches 14,000. Within four short years, this number nearly doubles to more than 27,000 in 1937.
Early volunteer support
Community volunteers have lent their time and talents to the hospital since its inception. The Junior League of Dallas (JLD) was one of the first volunteer groups ever involved with Scottish Rite. In the mid-1930s, hospital physicians identify a vital need for patients with limited mobility and physical challenges to be taught independent living skills. The JLD responds by funding and staffing an Occupational Therapy (OT) Department at the hospital – the first community project undertaken by the JLD in its history. Equipped as a workshop to serve both inpatients and children seen in the outpatient clinics, OT services soon expand in 1936 to include music appreciation, art instruction, sewing and woodcrafts. The following year, more than 10,000 therapy treatments are performed. Today, the JLD continues to maintain its long-standing commitment to the hospital by generously providing volunteers and funding.
Scope of care broadens to include other orthopedic diagnoses
As the reputation of the hospital continues to spread, patients begin seeking care for orthopedic diagnoses other than polio. While polio inspired fear and a sense of helplessness, the prevailing attitude toward orthopedic conditions that children were born with was more exclusionary and antiquated. Treatment for these children was often limited, as advocacy, mainstreaming and access laws were decades away. Clubfoot, a condition present at birth in which the foot is twisted out of shape or position, becomes an area of focus at Scottish Rite. Clubfoot treatment in this era involves castings and, in some cases, surgery in order to correct the problem.
Dr. W.B. Carrell’s son, Dr. Brandon Carrell, joins hospital medical staff
In 1939, after completing his medical degree and postgraduate work at Northwestern Medical School and Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, Dr. Brandon Carrell follows in his father’s footsteps and returns to Dallas to specialize in orthopedics. Drs. W.B. and Brandon Carrell divide their practice between caring for adult patients in their clinic and treating children at neighboring Scottish Rite.
Caring for children far from home
Children treated at the hospital often came from cities far from Dallas, and medical treatment could involve separating children from their parents for lengthy periods. Mail became a primary means of keeping parents informed of their child’s progress. A letter from Dr. W.B. Carrell to a father in Amarillo reads: “Dear Mr. R., The baby appears to be improving as we had hoped for, the treatments seem to be going in a satisfactory way. The brace maker suggested that the brace could be repaired and would be as serviceable as a new one…I am returning your draft because there was no charge made…for the repair work. With best regards to Mrs. R., I am Very truly yours, W.B. Carrell.” Parents who were able to make the trip to Dallas were allotted two hours on Sunday to visit their child.
Polio treatment in the Dallas heat
The summer of 1943, the midpoint of World War II, produced the worst polio outbreak in Dallas history. At the time, the prevailing method of polio treatment was known as the Sister Kenny method. In an effort to eliminate the spasms associated with polio and reduce the amount of limb deformity, this treatment method required children to be packed in sections of wool blanket that had been soaked in boiling water and then thoroughly wrung out so as not to scald – all this during the heat and humidity of a Dallas summer. Dr. Carrell’s health was beginning to fail amid the stress and long hours of that polio epidemic. On some hot afternoons, he left Scottish Rite’s polio wards filled to capacity with children being wrapped in steaming wet blankets and headed to the movies. Not because he wanted to watch the feature, but because movie theaters were among the first air-conditioned places in Dallas.
Remembering the legacy of a President with polio
The girls ward at Scottish Rite is a busy place in the 1940s. Noting the framed photograph of then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt hanging on the wall, it is important to mention that President Roosevelt himself suffered from polio, which left him paralyzed from the waist down. Although he avoided being seen using his wheelchair in public, his disability was well-known and a major part of his image. A champion of the cause to defeat polio, Roosevelt founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, now known as the March of Dimes, which led to the development of polio vaccines. In tribute to his founding of this important and beneficial charitable organization, a dime was chosen to honor Roosevelt after his death. The Roosevelt dime was issued in 1946.
A legacy of love: one stitch at a time
Since the early days of the hospital, volunteers with sewing talent have gathered to create linens, gowns, blankets, exam table covers and garments for hospital patients. Affectionately known as The Sewing Ladies, this group of dedicated women has continued to serve the hospital over many decades. Giving of their time and considerable talent to create custom and unique items made with love has made a difference in countless children’s lives.
Vaccines mark end of polio
Word sweeps a grateful nation that a vaccine for polio – “safe, effective and potent” – has been discovered. According to the official announcement, this discovery would mark the end of the “nightmare summers of quarantine and contagion.” A year later, before having to face another frightening summer, a dead-cell vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk is field-tested on more than 1.7 million schoolchildren. It will be remembered for all time as the largest mass experiment in the history of medicine. Before the results are even calculated, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis orders 27 million doses of the vaccine at a cost of $9 million. When the American Medical Association endorses the oral vaccine of Dr. Albert Sabin in 1961, everyone in the nation is called to partake of his live-cell immunization packed in a sugar cube. Polio in America had been conquered at last.
Photo courtesy of March of Dimes
Iconic visitors in the Fifties
Scottish Rite has welcomed many unique and varied visitors to entertain young patients. On one sunny spring afternoon, the “Milk Maids” from local Cabell’s Dairy bring bovine friends to visit children at the hospital. And shortly after the 1955 opening of Disneyland in California, the one and only Mickey Mouse stops by to spread some cheer throughout the patient wards.
The childhood journey of a future hospital leader
After the Salk and Sabin vaccines eradicate polio in North America, Scottish Rite’s medical staff is able to greatly expand treatment in a wide range of pediatric orthopedic conditions caused by disease, accidents and congenital conditions such as scoliosis and clubfoot. One particular patient treated for an affliction other than polio was a young boy from Waco, Texas, with a severe case of clubfoot. Lyndon Olson, Jr., was cared for by Dr. Brandon Carrell and ultimately made the difficult decision to amputate both of his feet in order to offer him the best chance at mobility. Lyndon went on to play baseball, attend Baylor University, serve in the Texas House of Representatives, be appointed as U.S. Ambassador to Sweden by President Bill Clinton and serve as Chairman and CEO of major U.S. corporations. But his greatest accomplishment, according to Lyndon, has been serving as Chairman of the Board of Scottish Rite, a position he has held since 2006.
The evolution of an intersection
Until the middle of the 20th century, the intersection of Oak Lawn and Maple Avenues is the heart of the medical community in Dallas – home not only to Scottish Rite and the Carrell Clinic, but also Parkland Hospital, Southwestern Medical School, Children’s Medical Center, Hope Cottage, Easter Seals, Dean Learning Center and Dallas Child Guidance Center. As more of these institutions relocate elsewhere, the hospital is also offered property within the fledgling Dallas Medical District. Thanks to the wisdom of the Board of Trustees, the hospital remained on this campus and, after adjacent land acquisitions over the years, now sits on 15 acres with ample space for playgrounds and parks as well as beautiful, historic 40-acre Reverchon Park in our backyard.
An unprecedented gift allows dreams of future growth
Former U.S. Senator William Blakley and his wife, Villa, donate two large ranches to Scottish Rite. This unprecedented gift to the hospital was made for the specific purpose of supporting the hospital with endowment income from one of the ranches, the Rocker b, which is still owned and operated by the hospital today. The trustees of the hospital at the time of the gift decided to invest the ranch income until sufficient capital was available to construct a hospital that was free of debt, which they did in 1977, just 13 years after receiving the gift of the Rocker b.
A pioneer for children with learning differences makes a difference at the hospital
Pediatric neurologist Dr. Lucius “Luke” Waites joins the staff of the hospital and develops a center to evaluate and treat children with learning differences, specifically dyslexia. Dyslexia affects approximately 10 percent of all children, making it difficult to properly connect sounds to letter symbols, creating a barrier to their ability to read, spell or write. In 1968, at the invitation of Dr. Waites, the World Federation of Neurology meets at Scottish Rite and develops the first consensus medical definition of dyslexia.
A colorful circus character brightens spirits at Scottish Rite
Another familiar face pays a visit to Scottish Rite. Generations of circus-going youngsters recognize the familiar face of legendary American clown “Weary Willie,” famously portrayed by Emmett Kelly. Kelly created the sad-faced clown figure based on the hobos of the Great Depression.
Laying the foundation for future growth
Ground is broken on a new six-level, 400,000-square-foot facility across the street from the original hospital building. Construction will be completed three years later.
Opening doors to hope and healing
A culmination of the generous gift of the Rocker b Ranch from U.S. Senator William Blakley and his wife in 1964, construction of the new hospital building is complete, and patients and staff move across the street into the new structure that covers 400,000 square feet and is designed to be as friendly as it is comforting to patients. Within a decade, it will be necessary for the hospital to expand again, adding another vital 200,000 square feet.
Herring builds on a legacy of medical excellence as third Chief of Staff
Dr. J.A. “Tony” Herring is appointed as the third Chief of Staff at Scottish Rite, and Dr. Brandon Carrell assumes the title of Chief of Staff Emeritus. They continue to work closely together until Dr. Carrell’s death in 1981. At this time, there have only been three Chiefs of Staff in the history of the hospital.
A “pop”-ular new addition becomes a hospital tradition
Shortly after the opening of the new facility, an authentic popcorn cart is donated to the hospital and a tradition is born. Since that time, fresh, hot popcorn is popped by dedicated hospital volunteers daily on the clinic level for the enjoyment of patients, staff and visitors. Over the years, the hospital has earned a reputation for smelling like popcorn rather than a hospital. Legions of volunteers have loyally kept this tradition alive, day in and day out. Proceeds from popcorn sales directly benefit the hospital, as the volunteers grant “wishes” to hospital departments in need of unbudgeted items for patients.
Cheerleaders make their mark on Scottish Rite
To the delight of patients, families and staff, the iconic and world-famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders filmed a dance sequence for their 1980 movie “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders II” inside the atrium of the hospital. Visits by Dallas Cowboys players and Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have become a holiday tradition that brightens the season for children in the hospital during the holidays.
Searching for scoliosis solutions
Scottish Rite’s orthopedic medical staff and research team initiates an aggressive program to develop innovative procedures and implant systems for treating scoliosis.
A playground designed for all
The hospital debuts Allan Shivers Park, a playground and recreational haven for hospital patients, families and community friends that is conveniently located across from the main entrance of Scottish Rite's Dallas campus. Named in honor of former Texas Governor and former Chairman of the Scottish Rite Board of Trustees, the Allan Shivers Park is designed to allow ease of access and appropriate range-of-motion activities for children at all levels of physical ability. Thanks to the generosity of the Associated Builders and Contractors organization, the original park is built using donated materials and labor. In order to remain on the leading edge of guidelines for playground safety and accessibility, the park will be renovated and updated in 1989 and again in 2014.
Golfing friends launch long-standing “friend-raising” event for the hospital
The first Tartan Golf Classic is held at Brook Hollow Golf Club in 1987 for the purpose of making friends and raising funds for Scottish Rite. Since its inception, this annual tournament event has raised more than $6.5 million for the organization. A number of famous names in golf have participated, including Byron Nelson and Justin Leonard.
Meyerson benefit concerts delight audiences
Shortly after the opening of the Meyerson Symphony Center, two benefit concerts are held at the venue for the benefit of Scottish Rite and its patients. The first featured a performance by the West Point Glee Club accompanied by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The second was an energetic, entertaining musical production as Barney the Purple Dinosaur and friends took to the stage, to the delight of families and friends in attendance.
Sports legends take time out for patients
Notable sports legends who paid a visit to the hospital during the decade of the 1990s were legendary Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Tom Landry, Baseball Hall of Fame’s Texas Rangers pitcher Nolan Ryan and Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson, fresh off his gold medal victories.
Lengthening limbs with the help of Russian colleagues
Assistant Chief of Staff Dr. John Birch begins performing the Ilizarov procedure, originally developed by a Russian surgeon, to lengthen and straighten bones of patients. In the early 1990s, Dr. Mikhail Samchukov joins the medical staff at the hospital. Dr. Samchukov received his medical training in Russia and worked directly with Dr. Ilizarov, who pioneered this revolutionary treatment. The collaboration of Drs. Birch and Samchukov leads to many breakthroughs, including a cooperative effort with Scottish Rite researchers to develop the TRUE LOK External Fixation System, a patented modification of the Ilizarov device. In 2003, the Center for Excellence in Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction is formalized under the leadership of Drs. Birch and Samchukov.
A historic Presidential visit
In March of 1994, President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton visit patients and families at the hospital. While there, Clinton delivers his Presidential Radio Address from Scottish Rite. In these remarks, broadcast nationally, he states: “This morning I’m speaking to you from Dallas, Texas…and from the Scottish Rite for Children, one of the finest pediatric medical centers in America…Places like Scottish Rite don’t ask children with severe disabilities or serious illnesses, ‘Can you pay?’ They just ask, ‘How can I help?’ The wonderful team of doctors, nurses and other hospital workers here take all children in need. That’s what we want for all of America.”
A breakthrough treatment for children with clubfoot
Under the direction of Assistant Chief of Staff Dr. Steve Richards, Scottish Rite patients with clubfoot begin receiving the French functional physical therapy method of daily stretching, massaging and taping known as the Ponseti Method. This innovative approach to clubfoot correction is an alternative to the traditional, invasive surgery with below-knee casting. Scottish Rite is the leader among a handful of facilities in the nation that provide nonoperative treatment for clubfoot. In 2007, the Center for Excellence in Clubfoot Research is established under the direction of Dr. Richards.
Celebrating a milestone: 75 years of hospital history
During this year, the hospital celebrates its 75th birthday. The organization debuts its now widely recognized crayon logo and colorful campus signage as part of this commemorative year. A Western-themed 75th Birthday Gala featured a keynote speech by then-Texas Governor and future President of the United States George W. Bush, with musical entertainment by The Dixie Chicks. Governor Bush spent time visiting with hospital patients prior to the event. During this landmark year, the hospital also welcomes its 100,000th patient.
A park outfitted for sports of all kinds and abilities opens on the hospital campus
Dedicated in 1997, the four-acre James F. Chambers, Jr., Youth Fitness Park, named in honor of a longtime hospital leader and trustee, opens on the hospital campus to offer recreational opportunities for children of all abilities. Summer All-Stars becomes a popular annual program that offers opportunities for patients to learn and participate in many different types of sports offerings with the help of volunteers and under the direction of the hospital’s recreational therapist.
A welcoming new space for family waiting and worship
Thanks to a generous gift from then-Scottish Rite Chairman of the Board and his wife, the Sam and Millie Hilburn Family Room and Chapel, designed to accommodate a growing patient population, opens with a larger, more comfortable surgery waiting area and new place of worship.
Dallas Stars celebrate victory at Scottish Rite
Members of the victorious Dallas Stars professional ice hockey team celebrated their victory in the 1999 Stanley Cup championship by bringing the Stanley Cup trophy to the hospital for patients and staff to enjoy.
Seay Center opens in support of research innovations
In the year 2000, a new, larger research center, the 28,000-square-foot Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Center for Musculoskeletal Research, is built to provide the institution with a state-of-the-art technical and teaching environment.
Spinal research focus of newly created Center for Excellence
The Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay/Martha and Pat Beard Center for Excellence in Spine Research is established with the institution's Dr. Daniel Sucato as director. Scoliosis reportedly affects two to three percent of school-age children and has a tendency to run in families. It most frequently affects 10- to 15-year-old girls. This Center for Excellence helps create new, less-invasive treatment methods for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, the most common type of scoliosis affecting teenagers.
Hand disorder Center of Excellence debuts
The Charles E. Seay, Jr., Center for Excellence in Hand Disorders is established under the direction of Scottish Rite hand surgeon Dr. Marybeth Ezaki. One year later, the hospital produces an educational video called “Making a Thumb: The Story of Pollicization.” The film is a guide for hand surgeons and a resource for families in treating children with radial dysplasia, a condition in which the thumb is absent or underdeveloped. Scottish Rite was the first pediatric orthopedic hospital to employ full-time hand surgeons.
Scottish Rite researchers identify first gene associated with scoliosis
Thanks to a generous grant from Dallas’ Crystal Charity Ball, hospital researchers under the direction of Carol Wise identify the first gene – CHD7 – associated with idiopathic scoliosis, the most common spinal deformity in children. This discovery enables scientists and doctors to explore the disease’s causes and potential treatment.
Pickens Center welcomes groups of all sizes to the hospital
The 23,000-square-foot T. Boone Pickens Training and Conference Center opens at Scottish Rite in 2009, thanks to a generous $8 million gift from T. Boone Pickens. Since that time, we have welcomed and introduced visitors to the hospital through this outstanding addition to the Scottish Rite campus.
New hope for children with hip conditions
The Center for Excellence in Hip Disorders is established under the leadership of Scottish Rite’s Dr. Harry Kim, also director of the Center for Musculoskeletal Research. Hip disorders such as hip dysplasia can affect one or both hips and are sometimes apparent at birth. Identifying hip conditions at an early age can prevent long-term issues as the adolescent grows into adulthood.
Hospital welcomes 200,000th patient
In the year 2010, the hospital reaches another significant milestone as it welcomes its 200,000th patient to the hospital.
Hospital celebrates 90th birthday year
The year 2011 marks the 90th birthday of Scottish Rite, leaving just 10 years until the Centennial Celebration Year.
Sucato named fourth Chief of Staff at Scottish Rite
In 2012, Dr. Tony Herring, Chief of Staff for 34 years, assumes the new title Chief of Staff Emeritus, and Scottish Rite orthopedic surgeon Daniel J. “Dan” Sucato, M.D., M.S., is named Chief of Staff. Dr. Sucato becomes just the fourth Chief of Staff in the 91-year history of the hospital.
Ground is broken on new Scottish Rite for Children in Frisco
With 25 percent of the hospital’s patients coming from the fast-growing suburbs of North Texas, hospital leadership makes the decision to build a second Scottish Rite campus in Frisco, Texas. After years of planning and preparation, ground is broken in 2016 on the first-ever satellite location – anchored by a Center for Excellence in Sports Medicine specializing in the treatment of sports-related orthopedic conditions and concussions, while also offering outpatient services and surgeries for children with orthopedic issues including spine, hip, hand and foot disorders.
Scottish Rite for Children in Frisco opens its doors
After nearly a century at the same Dallas location, Scottish Rite took a historic step to expand its presence in Dallas’ northern suburbs. The 40-acre Frisco campus located in Collin County opens in the fall of 2018 with a five-story, 345,000-square-foot ambulatory care center featuring color-coded floors, a large spiral staircase, a large hanging sculpture in the atrium and dynamic artwork that reflects movement and encourages recovery. Exterior campus features include sports fields, a walking and running trail and a playground park for patients and the community.
Main campus clinic renovations
Scottish Rite undertakes a renovation and refresh of the hospital’s Main Campus facility, originally constructed in 1977. One of the first areas to receive an aesthetic transformation is the outpatient clinic area. While maintaining traditional themes dear to Scottish Rite and its patients, hospital architects, aesthetic team and Scottish Rite’s facilities and process management leadership worked with interior design and art curation experts to create updated interiors that reflect hope and healing in a creative, colorful and accessible style.
Help us make the next 100 years equally amazing.
Your generosity gives the gift of childhood. The gift of being able to run, jump and play. The gift of being boundless. With your help, we can treat more children and explore more innovations as we look to make the next century as impactful as the first.