|The Stork's Nest, a maternity home, provided a place for Tucson women to give birth from the 1920s to the 1940s. In the cozy facility with eighteen beds, women arrived to labor and give birth, then stayed to rest for more than a week.
Region: Tucson and Southern Arizona
Theme: Women at Work
|Helen Jacobs opened the Stork's Nest in 1922 after her daughter died in childbirth in Bisbee, Arizona, because she felt that women needed additional assistance in childbirth. Two nurses staffed the birthing center, working eight-hour shifts in order to attend women until birth was imminentthen they called a doctor. Foreshadowing the social changes to come later in most hospitals, husbands were allowed in the
delivery room when the baby arrived.
During the time that the Stork's Nest operated, it provided an important option for women because St. Mary's Hospital was the only such facility in Tucson. Women usually rested for ten days following childbirth, as was common at that time. Mothers paid only $25 to $35 for their stay, including meals. Although the Stork's Nest contained only eighteen beds, at times, twenty women could be squeezed into the available rooms.
After the Stork's Nest owner, Helen Jacobs, died in 1946, the building was sold and converted into an apartment house. In 1984, Southwest Parks and Monuments Association (now the Western National Parks Association) moved in, following a restoration of the structure. Today the building houses Clear Creek Associates, a groundwater consulting firm.
Walk by the former maternity home at 223 N. Court Avenue to see where many Tucson women gave birth from the 1920s to the 1940s.
This site is on the AWHT Tucson Walking Tour which begins at the Sosa-Carrillo-Fremont House. Brochures/maps will be available in May at the Tucson Visitors' Center in La Placita at 100 S. Church Ave.
Stork's Nest - © Peggy Price, photographer