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 (Dade) Boyd and Mary Lou Agnew, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Agnew. Mrs. Stigile 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 pf that time were Dr. Morris, Dr. Norris, Dr. Dale and Dr. Hassed.
The latter part of the year 1923 Mrs. Marsh purchased the building then known as the Mashek apartments located on 3rd 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 apart." 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 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 he 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 under the direction of F.R. Knautz.
(The Lutheran Hospitals and Homes Society under the direction of F.R. Knautz came into being in 1938 to operate rest homes , crippled childrens schools, hospitals, polio centers, and hospitals for the chronically ill 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. , Rita Dunlap, L.P.N., Helen Swartz, R.N., Ann Snipes, R.N., Mary Dunlap,R.N., Mary Robinson, L.P.N., and Beatrice Sullivan. Aids during this time were Iris Baughn, Edna Outhouse, Dotty Pennington, and Burnetta Koerber. In charge of X-ray was Ria Dunlap; Laboratory, H. Warr and Robinson; Housekeeper, Nellie Baker, Landry, 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; Francis 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 least in 1964 plans were executed through the help pf 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 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.