On June 14, 1883, young ladies, most of them members of St. John's Episcopal Church, opened the great-great grandmother of The HSC Pediatric Center: the "Children's Country Home." Over the years, the number of children requiring care grew so in 1929, the Board decided to sell the original Home. They wanted to build a new, more permanent (and fireproof) institution. A beautiful six acre parcel of land at the corner of 18th Street and Bunker Hill Road in northeast Washington was chosen and the new Home, capable of accommodating 50 children, was completed and first occupied on July 16, 1930. With the opening of the new building, the Home had its own medical and nursing staff, a social worker, teacher and dietician.
In the forties and fifties, the Home evolved into a chronic medical facility, caring for children with polio, rheumatic fever, cerebral palsy and congenital conditions. To more accurately reflect the services provided, the name was changed to “The Children's Convalescent Home” on October 5, 1951. The range of services grew even further, and the Home took on the character and services of a hospital. In 1956, a new wing was dedicated and the facility received its license as a "chronic and convalescent care hospital." On November 2, 1956, the name was changed once again to "The Children's Convalescent Hospital."
Having developed its services far beyond convalescent care, in April 1968, the hospital changed its name for the fourth time. It was renamed “The Hospital for Sick Children.” In September 1968, a modern, fully-equipped, 80-bed addition to the hospital was officially dedicated and opened.
In the early 1980s, the enormous progress in saving the lives of medically fragile infants and children led to a growing need for sub-acute or transitional care. Patients included premature and low-birth weight infants, infants who experienced various birth traumas, children of all ages needing orthopedic rehabilitation, accident victims, children with feeding and/or absorption disorders, and some with chronic or terminal conditions. To meet the increasing need, construction of the Hospital’s Weinberg Rehabilitation Center began in 1991 and opened in 1992.
Effective September 1, 2004, The Hospital for Sick Children became The HSC Pediatric Center. The current name maintains the tradition built over the years by keeping the HSC initials. At the same time, it embraces change – it’s still HSC, but now the initials stand for something new: Health Services for Children. Although the name has changed, the mission remains the same: To provide the highest quality rehabilitative and transitional care for infants, children, adolescents, and young adults with special health care needs and their families in a supportive environment that respects their needs, strengths, values and priorities.