Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
October 6, 2009
Memorial Hospital Plans Announced in 1953
For more than half a century, one of the most important buildings in the lives of Tillman County residents has been Memorial Hospital on East Josephine in Frederick.
The building was in its early stages in 1953 when Tillman County Commissions and the hospital board worked together to approve its plans as designed by Oklahoma City architect Walter T. Vahlberg and to accept bids for construction.
The new hospital would replace the then-hospital building at 9th and Floral in Frederick (which now houses the Department of Human Services).
In August and September 1953 Frederick newspapers published the architect’s rendering of the modern new hospital, and told of the planned building’s wonderful features. The hospital would be constructed during 1954 and would be a $500,000 project.
County commissioners in 1953 were S.D. Jackson, Fred Stevens, and H.T. Caroll. Members of the hospital board were B.W. Kent, Wade Watson, Amos Ridings, Billy Gist, and Merle Crawford.
On August 31, 1953, the Frederick Leader described the planned hospital as follows:
“Tillman County Memorial Hospital will be of fireproof construction throughout, built of tile walls, buff brick exterior and plastered walls and ceiling with steel roof beams. All windows will be of aluminum, reducing exterior painting to a few minor decorative pieces.
“The structure will have refrigerated air-conditioning throughout, including all patient, surgical, emergency, office, nurse, lobby, corridor and other rooms except for the boiler room, laundry and kitchen.
“Each room will be served by a separate telephone through a central PBX switchboard. Incandescent lighting is included throughout the building.”
“Among other modern features is its central oxygen room, in which all oxygen will be stored with supplies piped to each patient room, the surgery and emergency wing.
“Included in plans, and the specifications, are spacious concrete drives for ambulance and patient service.
“A cafeteria is included as part of the central kitchen layout, accessible for patient and personnel service. Large stock rooms and storage areas are incorporated into the building.”
“All interior walls, except the furnace room, will be plastered, or finished with ceramic or natural glazed tile surfacing. All floors are to be some flexible tile finish.”
“One wing will house the County Health Unit, providing one of the most modern centers of its kind in the nation.”
The new hospital opened in 1955, and serves as the basic building for the hospital that exists today.
During the years since, it has been remodeled numerous times; expanded with addition of patient, clinic, and nursing home wings; and reconfigured to better serve patients and the public.
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Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society’s board of directors. He can be contacted by email at jawynn @cableone.net.