Tower East

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Pensacola Hospital (now Tower East)
Building Information
Location 1010 North 12th Avenue
Architect A. O. von Herbulis
Client Daughters of Charity
Engineer Evans Brothers Construction
Current Owner Tower East Group, Inc.
Completion Date September 1915
Cost $400,000
Style Gothic Revival
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30.426247, -87.202858, Tower East </googlemap>

Tower East is the current name of original Pensacola Hospital building (and also called the Old Sacred Heart Hospital building). It is located at 1010 North 12th Avenue.

The hospital opened in September 1915 as the first Catholic hospital in Florida. The Daughters of Charity, a religious order dating back to 1633, invested over $400,000 into building and opening this facility. Evans Brothers Construction, of Birmingham, Alabama, took one year to build this late Gothic Revival building for the Daughters to provide the residents of Pensacola with better health care.

This structure is both a medical and architectural landmark. Before this hospital, Pensacola had only a scattering of local clinics in converted houses. Doctors would send patients with serious cases as far away as New Orleans for complicated procedures not available in Pensacola. With this facility, Pensacola had the first surgical, radiological, bacterial, and therapeutic facilities in Florida. Following the Daughters of Charity motto of "service to all", the third level of the east wing was dedicated entirely to the Creole and colored population so that they could also receive hospital care. A. O. von Herbulis, a native of Austria who immigrated to the United States, designed the hospital. Using the vocabulary of English Gothic architecture, with elements such as the Tudor arches on the ends, the stone work around the front entrance, and the battlement at the parapet, von Herbulis created a lasting monument to health care.

In 1948, following the original desire of Mother Margaret O'Keefe, Pensacola Hospital's name changed to Sacred Heart Hospital of Pensacola. In 1965, the hospital moved its operations to North Ninth Avenue. After the hospital left, a private school for Liberal Arts used the building from 1969 through 1978, but lack of maintenance forced the school to abandon the building. Tower East Group, Inc., a private enterprise owned by partners B. Neal Armstrong and Stephen F. Ritz, purchased the property in March 1980. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 16, 1982.

The public areas are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, for touring. The lower levels of the building house have been restored and maintained and have housed restaurants (Madison's Diner, O'Zone Pizza Pub, Et Cafe), and a local theater company (Loblolly Theater), as well as a veterinary clinic, yoga studio, and a Montessori school, along with several private offices. The upper levels have been in disuse since the removal of Sacred Heart Hospital to N. Ninth Avenue, and are closed to the public.

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