Adelaide Tichenor was an influential civic leader in Long Beach. As a child, she wasn’t able to receive treatment for clubfoot. While she became very involved in city affairs, helping found the Women’s Club, Ebell Club, Long Beach Public Library, and Long Beach Day Nursery, her dream was to open an orthopedic clinic for children. She gathered her closest friends, including Clyde Doyle, the first president of the Long Beach Kiwanis Club, C.H. Windham, former Long Beach Mayor and City Manager, and Florence Bixby of Rancho Los Alamitos to carry out this wish upon her death.
When Adelaide Tichenor passed away in 1924, these friends began their tenures as founding trustees of the Adelaide Tichenor Hospital-School which opened two years later in 1926. Today we operate as Tichenor Clinic for Children, steadfastly furthering Adelaide’s vision to serve children with disabilities regardless of the family’s ability to pay.
In 1938, Tichenor Clinic moved from its original location in the basement of Community Hospital into the Art Moderne building next door where we are today. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who like Adelaide had great compassion for children with disabilities, sent a letter of congratulations.
Adelaide stated in her will: “My sole desire in this matter is that my trustees use their own best judgment so that my trust estate will be placed where it will do the greatest good to the greatest number.” Adelaide’s wish was certainly carried out in multiple ways throughout the years. Tichenor Clinic:
- Quickly transformed into an emergency room during the 1933 earthquake
- Became first polio and infantile paralysis treatment center for children in the South Bay during the polio epidemic
- Opened the first school in Long Beach for children with physical disabilities
- Opened and operated the city’s first bone bank
- Started the Long Beach Dental Clinic
- Developed some of the first metal implants for joint replacement in children
Today, Tichenor Clinic for Children offers a wide range of services: physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, an early intervention program, the Rich Kempster Swim Program (named after former patient and Board Member Rich Kempster), parent support program, and orthopedic consultation in partnership with Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital.
Thanks to Adelaide’s vision, over 40,000 children and families have received the support of a dedicated team of therapists — to this day, regardless of their ability to pay.
We, like Adelaide, believe that all children deserve the opportunity to live a life without limits.