Historical Details

Hospitals of Niobrara County

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 11/04/2015

The Lusk Herald
March 15, 1917
Meeting of Industrial Club

At the Industrial Club Meeting Monday Night a large membership was present to hear the report of the Hospital Committee. Another meeting will be held next Monday night for further consideration of the advisability of financing this project, and it appears that a plan of issuing bonds will be adopted. A committee is working on the plan and will report next Monday night, and everyone interested in the welfare of the county as a whole should attend the next meeting and take an active part in promoting this institution.

The Lusk Herald
March 22, 1917
Hospital For Lusk

At the meeting of the Industrial Club held Monday evening specially called to receive the report of the committee appointed to formulate plans for raising funds for the erection of a hospital building in Lusk, the following form of resolution and contract was adopted and recommended to the public:

WHEREAS there is a movement on foot to establish a Hospital in the Town of Lusk for which a sum of $4,500.00 will be required, and

WHEREAS there are two methods of financing under consideration, one to incorporate and dispose of stocks and the other to issue bonds protected by a first mortgage on the property, to be held in trust by some suitable depository designated by the parties in interest, said bonds to be of $25.00 denomination bearing interest at the rate of six percent per annum, payable annually, maturing in five years, non-transferable under two years except that they shall be redeemable at any time at the holder's option for medical attendance, hospital fees or payment of accounts at the Overland Drug Co., for the holder or any of his immediate family; bonds so transferred for services shall not bear interest for the year in which they are surrendered.

THEREFORE we the undersigned do contract and agree to subscribe for and purchase shares or bonds in the amount set opposite our signatures. It is specifically agreed and understood that we the undersigned will not be bound to accept and pay for the shares, stocks or bonds in amount set opposite our named until there has been called a meeting of us the undersigned for the purpose of designation the method or policy upon which this Hospital shall be established for the best interest of the investors and the management.

The Lusk Herald
April 5, 1917
The Civic Improvement Club

Mrs. Nan Hilsabeck was the delightful hostess last Thursday evening, when twelve members and one visitor were present.

Several matters of importance were discussed. A motion was made and carried to the effect, that should the hospital proposition materialize, the club will furnish one room, including the linens.

The Lusk Herald
July 9, 1986
First Lusk hospital established in 1917

Compiled by Mrs. Harold Fosher, April, 1971

One of the first hospitals in Lusk was established in 1917 in the building which is located one block west of the intersection of Highway 20 and 85. (Across from the parking lot of the Historical Society building.) It is now owned by Wes Wolfe and is now an apartment house.

It is believed the hospital was managed by Mrs. E. Marsh. Dr. McGuye and Dr. Rose were doctors here at that time. Dr. McGuye came to Lusk in about 1907.

We know of two children who were born in this hospital. Florence Boyd, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dale Boyd and Mary Lou Agnew, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Agnew. Mrs. Stigle had surgery there in the early days. During the severe flu epidemic of 1918 and 1919 this hospital treated many patients.

In 1920 the hospital was moved to the Ed Arnold house south of the Ranger Hotel (now owned by the Roy Chamberlains.) Here Mrs. Marsh was again manager and carried love and mercy to the public. The doctors of that time were Dr. Morris, Dr. Norris, Dr. Dale and Dr. Hassed.

In the latter part of the year 1923 Mrs. Marsh purchased the building then known as the Mashek apartments located on 3rd Street, three blocks west of Main Street. Here she established the first part of the Lusk Hospital. This was used until 1939 when she built the addition frequently referred to now as the "middle part." This was a big boon to the hospital facilities. Doctors who served here during this period were Dr. Earl, Dr. David H. Dale, Dr. Earl Dale, Dr. Earl Dovy, Dr. W. E. Reckling and Dr. O. E. Torkelson. In 1941 Dr. Reckling established his own hospital in the former Henry Hotel on Main Street. Mrs. Marsh operated the Lusk Hospital until she retired in 1944 and sold the hospital to Dr. O. E. Torkelson.

After Dr. Torkelson purchased the Lusk Hospital Mrs. Blanche Spencer became the manager. During this period Dr. O. E. Torkelson and Dr. E. L. Lindahl served this hospital. Dr. Rogers was here for a short while in about 1947. Mrs. Spencer managed the hospital capably and well until in 1950 when the hospital was sold to Niobrara county and Edna Baker became the manager. For a short while the county commissioners acted as administrators. The hospital was then known as the Niobrara County Hospital. This was the year the west wing of the hospital was built. In order to raise funds so that the new section could be built ranchers, farmers, business places and others were solicited and a "Hospital Sale" was held at which time stock, grain, garden and dairy produce, household articles and other items were sold at auction.

Late in the year 1950 the Lutheran Hospitals and Homes Society took over the management of the hospital under the direction of Mr. F. R. Knautz.

(The Lutheran Hospitals and Homes Society under the direction F. R. Knautz came into being in 1938 to operate rest homes, crippled children schools, hospitals, polio centers, and hospitals for the chronically ill all west of the Mississippi River and the northwestern part of the United States. We salute these fine people and give them our praise for their untiring services rendered to so many, especially their services to our area. Their support and encouragement has kept this hospital operating during many periods of anxiety and discouragement.)

Mrs. Edna Baker was head nurse at the Niobrara County Hospital for several years. She was assisted by Mae Magoon, R.N., Ria Dunlap, L.P.N., Helen Swartz, R. N., Ann Stipes, R.N., Mary Dunlap, R. N., Mary Robinson, L.P.N., and Beatrice Sullivan. Aids during this time were Iris Baughn, Edna Outhouee, Dotty Pennington, and Burnetta Koerber. In charge of X-ray was Ria Dunlap; Laboratory, H. Warr and Robinson; Housekeeper, Nellie Baker; Laundry, Eva Hebers; Maintenance, Henry Hebers; Engineer, John Saterley; Culinary artists, Clara Parmely, Velma Geiger, Iva Butler and Leona Baughn. The local advisory board were Ira Lamb, President; E L. McKnight, Treasurer; Frances Davenport, Secretary; and Attorney Thomas O Miller.

In 1958 plans were made for the building of a new hospital as the license of the Niobrara County Hospital was temporary. There was much controversy, disappointments and a great deal of effort put into this venture. At last in 1964 plans were executed through the help of the Lutheran Hospitals and Homes Society, Hill-Burton, the Hospital Board, County Commissioners and many others to build the present Niobrara County Memorial Hospital. Many days and nights were spent drawing up the plans for this building and many personal dollars were spent to insure the proper execution of these plans. There were numerous donations and memorials which contributed greatly to the furnishing of this edifice. Mrs. George Mill headed the project of furnishing the various rooms in the hospital. This was accomplished primarily by donations in memory of loved ones.

The Hospital Auxiliary which was organized in 1967 has been diligent in its efforts to secure funds for hospital equipment. The members have given the hospital many hours of volunteer labor, whenever and wherever needed.

The Hospital Staff has willingly given of its time and substance to add to the convenience and efficiency of the new home for the ill.

The Memory Plaque in the Waiting Room was provided by the Harold Fosher family. It honors people who contributed toward furnishing and equipping the hospital.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Fosher, Harold (10/03/1898 - 10/28/1966) View Record
Obituary Chamberlain, Roy (06/04/1905 - 09/19/1979) View Record
Obituary Butler, Iva (02/20/1915 - 01/01/2002) View Record
Obituary Davenport, Frances (11/29/1909 - 03/16/2001) View Record
Obituary Dunlap, Mary (06/28/1905 - 02/22/2000) View Record
Obituary Lamb, Ira (04/19/1907 - 03/29/1989) View Record
Obituary Mill, George (10/08/1906 - 11/06/1975) View Record
Obituary Parmely, Clara (12/26/1896 - 12/27/1987) View Record
Obituary Spencer, Blanche (08/12/1888 - 07/05/1973) View Record
Obituary Canaday, Florence (02/25/1919 - 03/27/2013) View Record
Obituary Agnew, Martin (03/04/1882 - 07/27/1929) View Record
Obituary Fosher, Harold (02/20/1928 - 08/02/2016) View Record
Business Hospital: The Lusk Hospital View Record