The stork that sits atop the parking structure at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns is one of San Diego's most iconic monuments. For many, it symbolizes new life and calls to mind fond memories for families of the more than 200,000 babies born there. Here are five fun facts about Sharp HealthCare's feathered friend:
The stork made its debut in the 1960 Rose Parade.
The 18-foot-high stork originally premiered in the 1960 Rose Parade on a float called, "The Birds and the Bees," sponsored by the City of Sierra Madre. A Sharp hospital staff member watching the parade noticed the stork and thought it would be the perfect fit for the new maternity wing at Sharp Memorial Hospital. Upon request after the parade, the city donated the stork to the hospital.
The new maternity wing inherited the nickname, "Stork Club."
After the stork arrived at Sharp Memorial, it was placed outside the new maternity wing, which quickly earned the popular nickname, "Stork Club."
A crane was needed to relocate the stork to the new Sharp Mary Birch Hospital site.
Groundbreaking for the new Sharp Mary Birch Hospital took place in 1992. The stork was delivered by crane to its current perch atop the parking structure at the new hospital.
The baby in the stork's bundle was once lost in a windstorm.
During a rare San Diego windstorm in 2016, the baby bundle the stork carries in its mouth was dislodged and went missing. A Sharp nurse found the baby and brought it back to the hospital, where it was returned to the stork.
The Sharp Engineering team is responsible for maintaining and preserving the stork.
Since 1960, the hospital's Engineering crew has cared for the stork. Engineers occasionally take down the stork for repainting and refurbishing in order to preserve its polished appearance. Once restored, the engineering crew is also responsible for decking out the stork in occasional festive attire, including a top hat for New Year's, a red bow for Valentine's Day and, most recently, a party hat to celebrate Sharp Mary Birch's 25th anniversary.