Though there had been previous discussion among Galveston County doctors about the need for a hospital located on the mainland in Galveston County, the Texas City Disaster of 1947 convinced residents that the area needed its own hospital. In 1949, a $1 million bond was passed and 13.5 acres were donated by the Maco Stewart Family of Galveston for the purpose of opening a facility on the mainland. The Galveston Memorial Hospital officially opened its doors at 7 a.m. on May 27, 1952 ("Fifty Years", 2002). However, the first baby to be born in the new hospital, Dorothy Marie Hayes, couldn't wait until the official opening, so doctors opened the doors to the expectant mother, Lilly Hayes, at 4 that morning (Smith, 2002).
The hospital opened with just 90 beds, but it has greatly expanded over the 57 years since its opening. In 1969 a heliport was built for the Coast Guard but was also used for emergency care cases at the hospital. It was one of the first heliports used in the state of Texas ("County Memorial", 1977).
The hospital has also changed names several times. In 1976, the name was changed to the Memorial Hospital of Galveston, but became the Mainland Center Hospital in 1984. In 1995, the hospital was acquired by Columbia/HCA Healthcare Inc., and was renamed Mainland Medical Center. In 1996, the name changed to Columbia Mainland Medical Center. The name was changed back to Mainland Medical Center in 1999, and the hospital is still affiliated with HCA and retains the same name today ("Fifty Years", 2002). The hospital is now a 31-acre campus with 725 employees, more than 200 private physicians, and 226 beds ("Fifty Years", 2002).