Our History & Our Future
Our First Physicians
City of Tehachapi was incorporated in 1909. Tehachapi's first physician was Dr. N.N. Brown who arrived in the 1920s and is seen to the right at the Monolith Cement Company infirmary with a patient (circa 1923). In 1924 Dr. Clara Rinehart spent several years as Tehachapi's only Medical Doctor and was often accompanied on her rounds by local resident, Mary Rodriguez. Later Dr. R.G. Doupe made his home here and maintained a practice until 1934.
A Modern Hospital
On July 1, 1934, Tehachapi became the site of a "well-equipped, modern hospital" established in the old Capdeville Boarding House/Hotel on West E Street (pictured left). This site continues to this day as the location of the Tehachapi Hospital. Husband and wife physicians, Dr. Harold Schlotthauer and Dr. Madge Schlotthauer staffed the new hospital. "Dr. Madge" and "Dr. Harold" would treat generations of Tehachapi residents until the sale of the hospital in 1969. During this period, the Tehachapi Valley Hospital District was formed in 1949 (later renamed the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District), covering the area from Cache Creek to Keene.
Hospital Destroyed in Earthquake
On July 21, 1952 one of California's worst earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.7 on the Richter Scale hit Tehachapi at 4:52 a.m. The earthquake killed 13 people, injured 35 and destroyed 19 residences, 31 business establishments, 3 public buildings, 1 church, a Lodge-Temple and the original Tehachapi Hospital. Less than a year later on March 1, 1953, the hospital was moved to Mojave and turned into a 25-bed temporary facility.
On June 1, 1953, less than a year after the earthquake, construction commenced on the first section of a new Tehachapi Hospital. Completion in September of that year afforded full outpatient care but no inpatient hospitalization. Three years later, on May 16, 1956, ground was broken for the present Tehachapi Hospital (pictured left). This structure was built of reinforced concrete and designed to be "earthquake-proof." The first patients were admitted less than a year later on April 8, 1957.
District Services Expand
Operation as a District Hospital commenced on New Year's Day, 1969. In 1994 the District expanded its services by opening two Rural Health Clinics. The clinics were located in Tehachapi at 115 W. E Street and in Mojave at 2041 Belshaw Street. The new clinics provided a place for low income residents of the community to be seen by physicians, physicians' assistants and nurse practitioners. Subsequently, a rural health clinic has been opened in California City. On April 1, 2001 the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District became the 3rd Critical Access Hospital designated by the State of California. The new designation allows Tehachapi Hospital to receive cost based Medicare reimbursement, thereby improving the amount of Medicare dollars received by the hospital.
Our Future Facility
On March 28, 2013, more than 400 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of a new facility and new era for the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District. With a planned opening in the Fall of 2016, this new Hospital is located in Capital Hills just north of Hwy 58 at the Mill Street exit.