Enloe Medical Center: Taking Care of Chico for Over a Century

Chico residents are fortunate to have access to excellent health care services at the Enloe Medical Center. This beloved independent, non-profit hospital is locally governed and has the honor of being the top comprehensive medical center in the region. 

History of Enloe

But how did Enloe’s story begin? It started over a century ago with founder Dr. Newton Thomas Enloe in 1913, when he opened the original hospital on Flume Street in Chico. This native Missourian had moved west to California to work as the physician for the Sierra Lumber Co. after the tragic death of his first wife. After completing a post as the Chief Surgeon at the Diamond Match Company in Chico, he opened a general practice for the area and began treating lumberjacks who worked at the two mills in Chico.  

Dr. Enloe recognized the need for a new hospital to provide dedicated care to North Valley residents who were without one. At the time, he’d set up two “hospitals” at the base of each log flume at the mills. The logging industry was a dangerous one, and he often treated lumberjacks for accidents and injuries on the job. But there was the potential to serve the whole community of Chico with a more central location. So Dr. Enloe built a small, five-bed house on West Branch made of scrap lumber from the mill with his own two hands. It served the community until he decided a larger, more permanent building should be constructed. 

Fun Fact: During the first days of his original fledgling hospital, Dr. Enloe had a “log flume ambulance” in which he’d send injured loggers down from logging camps on a log down the river to the hospital. 

National EMS Museum People Files, NEMSM-0003, Dr. Newton T. Enloe

The Dr. N.T. Enloe Hospital received its first patient on September 10, 1913, when Dr. Enloe used a nail from the local hardware store to pin a hip fracture. The 38-bed hospital was a success and only closed temporarily in 1918 as Dr. Enloe volunteered to be a physician overseas with the U.S. Medical Reserves Corp. in WWI. 

In 1937, the Enloe Medical Center moved to its current location on the Esplanade. Dr. Enloe was able to watch it grow into an accredited hospital before passing away in 1954 at the age of 82 in the hospital he started 41 years before. 

Image courtesy of Enloe Medical Center

Enloe Medical Center Today

Today, the Enloe Medical Center is one of two Level II Trauma centers north of Sacramento and houses the region’s only Level II Neonatal Intensive Care unit. It provides services from Anticoagulation Clinics to X Rays. Treatments include cancer care, pulmonary rehabilitation, and more. Surgical services span from emergency to elective, and patients can utilize the FlightCare ambulance service when needed. 

Future Plans

Future plans for the hospital include a new 100,000 sq. ft comprehensive cancer center, thanks to a recent generous land donation by the Meriam Park land developer. The groundbreaking ceremony should take place in 2023, with completion anticipated by 2025. 

A Part of the Chico Community 

Meanwhile, the Enloe Medical Center’s current location makes the surrounding Chico Vecino, also known as “The Avenues,” a strong business area. The medical center drives locals and visitors to nearby businesses, restaurants, and stores.  

Enloe is a thriving part of the community and is known for its classes and events. From blood drives to Facebook Live talks and Christmas tree lightings, this mighty medical center is always finding ways to give back to the community. 

Want to learn more about Enloe Medical Center? Click here: https://www.enloe.org