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Hospital celebrates 125 years

Hospital celebrates 125 years

The day of all days

“A day of suspension from labor and rejoicing. The cornerstone of the Miners’ Hospital laid with ceremony in the presence of a large number of people.

“Saturday, the 2nd day of December, was the day of all days in Rock Springs. Former events of great importance dwarfed into insignificance when compared with the magnitude of Saturday’s achievements. Nothing has ever occurred in this city that can compare with it in bringing forth good results to mankind. Our citizens were a unit in appropriately celebrating the laying of the cornerstone of the Miners’ Hospital and from far and near came visitors to share in our triumph. The entire city was in holiday attire, bunting and evergreens being the principal decorations.”

From the Dec. 7, 1893, Rock Springs Miner

Happy birthday, Sweetwater Memorial!

MHSC will celebrate 125 years of compassionate care.

Rock Springs — It’s been 125 years since the medical services in Rock Springs were called “Miners’ Hospital,” but its roots have not been forgotten.

Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County celebrates its 125th birthday this year.

“It’s an important milestone,” said CEO Irene Richardson. “We’ve come a long way.”Miner's Hopsital Sweetwater

On Dec. 2, 1893, dedication ceremonies were held with the Masons of Rock Springs Lodge No. 12 placing the cornerstone. It was completed and opened within a year.

Sweetwater Memorial will celebrate that milestone with a birthday party from 5-7 p.m. Nov. 8 at the hospital at 1200 College Drive, Rock Springs.

“Everyone is invited,” said Deb Sutton, MHSC marketing and public relations director. “As it has always been, everyone is welcome at the hospital.”

The festivities include cupcakes, ice cream, face painting, kids’ games, trivia, a photo booth, an old-fashioned candy stand, hors d’oeuvres and community birthday photos. Historical items and a slide show will be on display, along with a timeline of the past 125 years and a slideshow. There will be party favors, gift bags and prizes – a $25 gift certificate winner will be drawn every 15 minutes, along with a $500 grand prize drawing.

“The hospital has a fascinating history,” Sutton said. “The hospital and its services have undergone so many incarnations over the years. It’s remarkable to realize the impressive medical institution it’s become today.”

In January 1895, revised statues changed the name of the hospital from the Wyoming State Miners’ Hospital to the Wyoming General Hospital.

The original building was destroyed by fire Jan. 4, 1897. While the building burned to the ground, all of the patients were rescued and transferred to the second floor of the City Hall building, which now houses Rock Springs Historical Museum, Sutton said. The hospital was rebuilt on the same foundation and reopened in 1898.

It wasn’t until Jan. 1, 1948, that the hospital would again change names.

By an act of the 29th Wyoming Legislature, ownership of the Wyoming General Hospital was transferred to Sweetwater County and the hospital officially became Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County.

The building at the top of C Street underwent many changes and expansions over the years. Then, after years of planning and design, a new hospital was built on another hill overlooking the town.

On May 5, 1978, the “old” hospital closed its doors and the new, $10 million Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County admitted its first patient.

The transfer of patients began at 8 a.m. during one of the heaviest snowfalls of the season. It included 25 patients, including one woman in labor and one paralyzed patient who had to be transferred in a moving van to accommodate all of the special equipment.

During the past 40 years, the hospital on College Drive has expanded two-fold with a multitude of services at three separate locations. With about 500 employees, including more than 30 providers, the hospital’s service lines continue to grow and expand. Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County would like to thank the Sweetwater County Museum for all of its help and for the use of their photos.