In the late 1940s, Seattle was desperately short on hospital beds. Seven of the eight general hospitals in Seattle at the time were concentrated downtown. North End residents worried that, in a major emergency, the bridges linking the north and south ends of the city could be destroyed, leaving it virtually impossible for them to reach one of these facilities. Worse yet, an atomic attack, which was greatly feared at that time, could destroy all the hospitals in one blow since they were all close to one another. At the recommendation of state health planners and the Atomic Energy Commission, plans were made to build new hospitals in the suburbs, including Seattle’s booming North End, where people were settling in increasing numbers.
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