The Floating Hospital for Children hasn't actually been on a boat since 1927, so Tufts Medical Center figured it's time to change the name - to Tufts Children's Hospital.
The hospital began as a hospital ship in 1894, based on the theory that bracing ocean air would help sick kids heal faster.
According to Harvard Medical School and its Clinical Opportunities, published in 1916, the Boston Floating Hospital was based on a similar ship in New York.
Mr. Rufus B. Tobey conceived the idea after talking with a former captain of the New York Floating Hospital. He thought that it would be a fine plan to take the sick babies from the tenement district, out where the cool breezes always blow.
The Floating Hospital at first used a barge, but eventually, its backers raised enough money, in particular from a bequest from Mrs. Sarah Potter, to buy "a twin-screw steamboat, 171 feet long and 44 feet wide" with enough space for permanent wards, a patients' deck with room for beds and seats for patients' mothers, laboratories, a pharmacy and dining rooms for nurses and doctors. Some 20 doctors and 70 nurses, along with 7 medical assistants and 2 lab assistants cared for patients on the daily harbor cruises.
Each morning during the summer, the Hospital boat leaves the wharf at North End Park to seek out the cool breezes down Boston Harbor. It returns in the evening so that mothers have an opportunity to see their babies. Preliminary to the admission of any child to a ward on the boat it is examined on the dock to ascertain the nature of its ailment. If a contagious disease is suspected the patient is not admitted.
Deck for day patients:
The renamed Tufts Children's Hospital today is anchored to the main Tufts Medical Center complex on Washington Street in Chinatown, behind the giant metal FAO Schwartz teddy bear.
H/t Ari O.