Wadena was not completely without a hospital before 1925. For a short time, 1914-1915, Drs. Kenyon and McKinnon ran a hospital out of a home at 124 Second Street, Southeast.
Dr. and Mrs. Coulter opened a hospital in a converted home at 321 Bryant Avenue, Southwest in 1912. In 1915 it was
passed on to Coulter’s successor, Dr. Luther A. Davis and renamed the Davis Hospital. Regardless of limited resources the doctor and his staff dedicated their talents to doing what they could. That was especially hard in 1918.
“I was with you dear friends, through one of the saddest years that this town has ever known and will never forget – the year of the war and the flu,” said the Rev. C.H. Mocker at Wesley Hospital’s cornerstone laying ceremony November 15, 1923. A former Wadena pastor; he recalled how staff at the hospital had successfully restored health to his wife and son, and how a doctor had refused part payment for a surgery.
He also spoke about “how the hearse backed up to one door after another to claim the victims of the flu epidemic, how the doctors labored hard and long to do what they could for suffering humanity and how Dr. L.A. Davis had given his life because he persisted in ministering to the needs of the sick, long after his physical resources had been exhausted though hospital facilities were wholly inadequate during those days.” Dr. Davis dies in 1920 and his wife, Maie, continued to run the residence hospital.
McCrea and others emphasized that a larger hospital in the community had the potential to provide more advanced health care. Dr. N.E. Davis, executive secretary of the Board of Hospitals and Homes of the Methodist Church reported that less than 5 percent of people in the hospitals died.
“So a hospital is no place to go to die. If you want to go to heaven, stay away from the hospital,” he told the crowd in his speech at the cornerstone laying. “If you get sick and go to the hospital, be sure of this, that everyone there, every physician, every surgeon and every nurse in the hospital will try to keep you alive. We go to the hospital with the intention of finding out what is wrong with you. So we have the X-ray machines to look right straight through you. We examine your blood and every part of your body. If we cannot find out what is wrong with you, you haven’t got it. It is just above the collar.”
With that kind of ideal optimism, leaders and residents accepted the mission to build a hospital.
All they needed – they thought – was $50,000.
*Excerpt out of the 75 Years Historical, heartwarming & humorous stories of Tri-County Hospital.
Please join us on Tuesday, July 21st from 4-8 p.m. as we celebrate our 90th Year on the Wesley Hospital lawn right here in Wadena! There will be food, entertainment, games and giveaways! Click here for more details…