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Our History

In the 1920s, members of Kosair Shrine Temple and other community leaders saw

there was an urgent need to provide medical care to crippled children in the Louisville region and throughout Kentucky. They believed a free-standing, specialized care hospital was necessary. Louisville was an ideal location for several reasons, including:

  • A local Kosair Temple
  • The largest metropolitan area in the state
  • Excellent transportation access
  • Site of the only medical college in the state

Dr. Owen, an active member of the Shrine temple, was a prominent member of the Jefferson County Medical Society and Kentucky State, Southern, and American Medical Associations and a nationally known orthopedic surgeon. He was best known for his work as chief of staff of the Kosair Crippled Children Hospital. He was also a member of the first board of directors.

History Hall Group Shots 035

Through the Years

In 1923, the Kosair Shrine Temple formed Kosair Charities Committee, Inc. and purchased six acres of land on Eastern Parkway for a hospital where children could receive quality healthcare. (Read More about the Shrine and Silent Messenger). The hospital was owned by Kosair Charities. In 1926, the hospital opened and on May 11 the first ten patients were admitted. It grew very quickly in the 30s adding a new wing, and 40s-50s when polio was a top treatment priority. In the late 1970’s, the Kosair Charities Committee began to collaborate with the Children’s Hospital, part of Norton Infirmary, under the advisement of University of Louisville pediatric physicians. This resulted in the consolidation and merger of Kosair Crippled Children Hospital and the Children’s Hospital, effective May 1, 1981.

Now a granting organization, Kosair Charities was able to broaden its scope of support, begin providing instrumental grants, as well as individual help to families through the Kosair Kids Financial Assistance Program. Today, Kosair Charities is the largest charity for children in the history of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. For nearly 100 years, Kosair Charities has helped children reach their potential while overcoming their obstacles.

Read more about each decade below:

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