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Our history

Learn more about how our hospitals came to serve the health needs of Western North Carolina.

Our hospital's established history

Mission Health's storied history began in a five-room house and became one of North Carolina's largest health systems.

Our legacy of caring

In 1885, a small group of four women set out to establish a place in Asheville where the sick and those in need of a home could heal. The result of these efforts was known as The Little Flower Mission. Led by Miss Anna Woodfin, The Little Flower Mission revolutionized healthcare in Western North Carolina as we know it today.

The women’s vision of a hospital in Asheville started by raising money by selling flowers on the streets downtown. Their goal was simple: to care for those in need, regardless of their ability to pay. Operating on a shoestring budget, they opened on October 6, 1885, in a rented five-room house with donated furniture and materials and it became Mission Hospital. It would officially care for its first patient, a woman in labor, on October 17, 1885, and grow under the founders' leadership for the next 63 years.

The first patient at Mission Hospital was carried from her nearby home on a small stretcher by two men. Today, critically ill and injured patients from throughout the region may arrive by air ambulance helicopter Mountain Area Medical Airlift (better known as MAMA). The four founders of the Little Flower Mission couldn’t have imagined their hospital would result in the modern medical center that serves Western North Carolina today.

What began with the vision and tenacity of Anna Woodfin, Fanny Patton, Rose Chapman and Lily Carmichael, a staff physician and a matron has grown to eight hospitals and dozens of physician practices that support all of western North Carolina.

Mission Health has prevailed because of the determination of the volunteers and dedicated physicians and caregivers who started it all. In that sense, little has changed. We thrive on opportunity and we value our role as the region’s leader in advanced healthcare and specialized services. We're also proud to be the area's largest employer, providing our team members with meaningful work that changes the lives of our neighbors across the state.

Learn more about our community hospitals and locations: