One of three brothers who became doctors, A. E. Spohn (1845-1913) was born in Canada and studied medicine in Michigan and New York. He came to the Texas Gulf Coast in 1868 as a U. S. surgeon in charge of military quarantine. He settled in Corpus Christi after his marriage in 1876 to Sarah Josephine Kenedy (1857-1918) daughter of steamboat captain and rancher Mifflin Kenedy. A prominent local physician, Dr. Spohn was also a leader in numerous medical organizations.
The first hospital named in his honor was Spohn Sanitarium, built in 1905 on North Beach, with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. John Gregory Kenedy, Mrs. Henrietta King, Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Kleberg, and other leading citizens. Dr. Alfred G. Heaney, an associate of Dr. Spohn, admitted the first patient to the facility, operated by Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.
After a hurricane damaged the structure on North Beach on September 14, 1919, Mrs. Henrietta King, widow of Capt. Richard King, founder of the King Ranch, donated five acres at this site for a new hospital. From a three-story brick building erected here in 1923, Spohn Hospital has grown into a modern medical complex.