National Hospital Week: It’s all about the people

By: Joel Beiswenger, President/CEO

A hospital is far more than just a place where people go to heal. It’s a vital element of the community that encourages health and embodies hope. From providing treatment and comfort to the sick, to welcoming new life into the world, hospitals are central to healthy, vibrant and optimistic communities.

That’s the message Tri-County Health Care and other hospitals will emphasize during National Hospital Week, May 7-13, the nation’s largest health care event.

This annual event originated in 1921 when a magazine editor proposed the idea with the hope that a community-wide celebration might alleviate public fears about hospitals. The celebration was launched in Chicago and succeeded in establishing trust among members of the public, eventually spreading that trust to facilities across the country.

Above all, National Hospital Week is a celebration of people. Each member of our staff works diligently every day to meet the needs and improve the health of the communities we serve. We are extremely proud of the work ethic that is displayed each and every day.

That’s not all. This week also celebrates the history, technology and committed professionals that make our hospitals a shining example of compassion and care. The effects of the week are far reaching, offering many advantages throughout the year, such as enhanced departmental interaction, satisfied patients, staff retention, improved recruitment and increased community awareness.

This year, take the opportunity during  National Hospital Week to say thank you to all of the dedicated individuals who continuously promote health in our communities and beyond, whether physicians, providers, nurses, therapists, technicians, volunteers, food service workers, engineers, administrators and many more.

A Peek into the Past

Tri-County Health Care has a rich history of providing health care in this community, reaching all the way back to the 1920s. To celebrate this history, and in keeping with the National Hospital Week mission, here’s a brief snapshot of some key moments of health care’s long-past history in this area.

Wesley Hospital

1912: Dr. and Mrs. Charles Coulter open a hospital in a converted home at 321 Bryant Ave. SW in Wadena

1914-15: Drs. Kenyon and McKinnon run a hospital out of a home at 124 Second St. SE, Wadena.

1915: The Coulter hospital is passed to Dr. Luther Davis and renamed Davis Hospital.

1922: After discussions about building a Wadena hospital begin, the first contribution to this new hospital comes in 1922 in the form of $1 from a widow in Hewitt. In June, Wadena becomes first Minnesota city to start a White Cross chapter, a national organization geared to raising money for hospitals.

1923: The first dirt is moved for the Wesley Hospital’s construction.

1924: Wesley Hospital is officially dedicated on Nov. 30.

1925: Wesley Hospital opens for business at 4 p.m. on Jan. 30.

1928: The first class graduates from Wesley Hospital School of Nursing. It included Violette Colby, Viola Hirschey, Ruth Jacobson, Gertrude Palmer, Marie Trana, Helen Warmboe and Marion Willis.

1957: Dr. C.W. Parker approaches the Wadena Civic and Commerce members about the need for improvements in the Wesley Hospital.

1958: Work begins in mid-May on the 40×50-foot basement and two-story addition on the hospital’s east end. The hospital also adds a new basement kitchen, Hy-Lo beds, updated rooms, enclosed fire escapes, and the third floor was remodeled for obstetrics with a new delivery room and nursery.

1962: Wesley Hospital surpasses the 50,000 patient mark, averaging 1,090 patients per year.

1968: Local businessmen pro

pose a new hospital, as Wesley Hospital was no longer modern or up to date.

1971: Wesley Hospital is approved for a $1.9 million loan and the communities are challenged to raise the rest of the expected $2.1 million cost of a new 43,000-square-foot, 56-bed hospital.

1972: Builders break ground on Aug. 2 across the street from Wesley Hospital for the new Tri-County Hospital.

1974: Tri-County Hospital holds open house on Jan. 6.

Tri-County Health Care today








By the Numbers – Wesley Hospital


  • 3 carloads of cement (1,200 sacks)
  • 900 yards of gravel/sand
  • 2 carloads steel beams
  • 1 carload structural steel
  • 1 carload metal lathe
  • 196,000 tiles
  • 2 carloads Pyrobar
  • 5-ply asphalt roofing


  • 3 carloads rug face brick (76,000)
  • 1 carload cut stone
  • 550 sacks bricklayers’ cement
  • 5-ply asphalt roofing


  • 60 tons of plaster
  • 130 yards of sands


  • 116 windows
  • 120 doors
  • 18,000 square feet of floors
  • 4,700 lineal feet of base

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