PHOTO OF THE DAY: THE ORIGINAL HOSPITAL
In this week’s weekly Monday reflection on a part of Freeman’s history, Heritage Hall Museum & Archives remembers the original hospital. Here’s what was written on the museum’s Facebook post Monday morning:
Freeman community residents find it difficult to imagine a community without a hospital. But this community was nearly 80 years old before Freeman Community Hospital became a reality.
The 16-bed hospital was built in 1951 on the edge of a cornfield on what was at the time the east edge of Freeman. An open house for the new hospital was held on August 31, 1952.
Today the original hospital, pictured here, is the northwest portion — including the conference room – of the sprawling Freeman Regional Health Services complex that stretches from Seventh Street to near College Street between Walnut and Wipf streets.
In the November 1, 1934 issue of the Freeman Courier publisher J.J. Mendel wrote “quite often people ask why Freeman has no hospital. Parkston has one. Scotland has one. Parker has one. Ten years later, the Courier reported that “16 of the leading citizens of Freeman had a meeting for the purpose of discussing the possibility of erecting a hospital for Freeman and its community.”
The modest building was just the start. In 1960, 14 beds were added. In 1971, a 31-bed nursing home edition was added. In 1979, 29 more beds were added to the nursing home. In 1994, “The Connection Project” vacated 8th Street and physically linked the hospital to the Rural Medical Clinics.
Over the years not only have not only has the physical plant expanded dramatically but so have the services offered. Today Freeman Regional Health Services is a cornerstone in the quality of life for residents in the larger Freeman community.
This history comes from “Freeman In Print,” a 2001-02 project of the Freeman Courier. Not only is the 13-part “Freeman In Print” an essential part of our archives, it is also for sale in our mercantile. Our museum is open weekdays from noon to 4 October through April and by appointment, you can call us at 605-925-7545.