History

The History & Future of Chadron Community Hospital & Health Services

Prior to the establishment of Chadron Community Hospital & Health Services, the need for such an institution was partially supplied by a series of small privately owned hospitals; the last of which was destroyed by fire in 1927 without injury to the patients.

Public assistance was immediately enlisted with the object in view of continuing to afford some sort of hospitalization in the community. For this purpose a temporary association was formed, the membership of which was composed of charitably inclined women, this association succeeded in establishing a temporary institution, which in the course of its operations accumulated considerable equipment, the best of which was later presented to the present hospital building.

About this time local physicians and surgeons organized the Chadron Medical Society. It soon became apparent that the demand was too great to be taken care of with the means at hand. The Medical Society and the temporary association mentioned above, with the assistance of other interested persons, procured the holding of a special election to vote on the question of the issuance of $35,000 in bonds by the city; the proceeds of which were to be used for the construction of a new modern hospital.

The election was held August 16, 1927; and the bond issue carried by more than a two-thirds majority. The bonds were accordingly issued and sold, and the hospital built.

The bond issue, however, only provided funds for the building. Funds amounting to approximately $10,000 for furnishing and equipping it were later provided, in part by the City, in part by generous donations from various religious and fraternal organizations of Chadron and vicinity, and from private individuals.

Work on the building started late in the spring of 1928. The cornerstone was laid on May 28, 1928. Pending completion of the building on June 18, 1928, the Mayor and Council passed Ordinance 460 creating a Hospital Board of five members and defining its powers and duties. This Board was appointed by the Mayor, with the consent of the Council, and had immediate charge of the operation of the Hospital.

The members first appointed on the Hospital Board were Edwin D. Crites, Chairman; Mrs. Orin J. Schwieger, Mrs. Robert I. Elliott, Rev. E. C. Newland and Elwood H. Stewart. The first meeting of this Board was held in the assembly room of the Y.M.C.A. in Chadron on July 16, 1928. To the members of this Board is due credit for a tremendous amount of good work in connection with the plans for the building, providing the equipment and starting the hospital into operation.

The first patients were received into the Hospital on January 11, 1929, and since that date the Hospital has been in continuous and successful operation.

The original hospital building was completely renovated, and additions constructed in 1961 and 1969. This resulted in the fine fireproof and completely modern forty-two bed facility which now exists.

The Hospital was known as Chadron Municipal Hospital and was operated by the City until September 1, 1963. This date marked the establishment of Chadron Community Hospital.

The Chadron Community Hospital Corporation presently controls the Hospital. Membership in the corporation is open to any person who subscribes $50.00 or more to the purposes or promotion of the corporation. The management and control of the corporation is vested in and exercised by a board of twelve trustees who are elected by the majority of the membership attending the regular annual meeting. Four trustees are elected each year for three year terms.

Officers of this corporation consisting of a President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer are elected by the majority of the membership attending the regular annual meeting. Four trustees are elected each year for three-year terms.

Construction for Surgery and Delivery began in 1986 and in 1988 Home Health joined our organization. In 1995 the Surgeons' clinic area and office space were constructed in the lower level of the building. The decision to purchase and operate Prairie Pines Retirement Center was made in 1995.

Much progress has been made since Chadron Community Hospital and Health Services first opened its doors in 1929 to provide the community with hospital care. Still we must not sit back and be content with this progress.

Our goal for the future should be to continue along the lines of progress which have been evident the past few years. We now have an excellent hospital, provide good service to the patient, and should strive to continue in such a manner.