SAN ANTONIO -

Fifty years ago, Southwest Texas Methodist Hospital was constructed on rural ranch land in Northwest San Antonio.

Now it's part of a world-class medical facility.

"Who would have thought in 1963 that we would see what we see today throughout this great medical center?" asked Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.

Fifty years ago, the United States and the Soviet Union were in the throes of the Cold War.

Methodist Hospital's design was reflected in that.

"One of the ways the hospital received funding to be built was to, in fact, become the first nuclear bomb-proof hospital in the world," said Geoff Crabtree, senior vice president of Methodist Healthcare.

Facilities for the most important functions of the hospital were constructed two stories underground, and were made radiation-proof.

Floors aboveground were constructed to withstand a nuclear blast.

At the 50th anniversary ceremony held at the hospital, a time capsule holding artifacts from the 25th anniversary celebration was opened and emptied.

While the celebration was a reminder of where the hospital has been, hospital administrators are firmly focused on the future.

"Healthcare is moving so fast, and technology, and people, and how we treat people, and how we care for people is moving so fast that every day is a new day, and we like to think we are keeping up with it, and in fact actually innovating along the way," said Crabtree.

Images: Methodist Hospital's 50th Anniversary

Published On: Sep 26 2013 11:04:36 AM CDT

Join KSAT as we take a look back at the historic construction and opening of San Antonio's Methodist Hospital 50 years ago. All photos and captions courtesy Methodist Hospital.

group in front of scale model
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A model of the hospital was built to help with fundraising efforts. The model was also displayed around the world, touted as the first nuclear-age hospital. When the hospital opened, it was indeed the first built as a fall out shelter with two levels underground.

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