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Surgery is performed in the new wing of Weisbrod Hospital by a team headed by Dr. Jack Zimmerman (surgeon: left) and Dr. John Hines (anesthesiologist: right) in February, 1968. This photo appeared in the February 26, 1968 issue of the Pueblo Chieftain and Star Journal.
Kiowa County Museum

Long Time Gone: The Unfolding of Weisbrod Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home

By Michael Zimmerman (EHS Junior, Class of 2001)

September 19, 2023

The following story was written 25 years ago as part of the series created by the Eads High School history project—Kiowa County: A Retrospective at the Dawn of a New Millennium. This series was written by EHS juniors and seniors in 1999—as the new century was about to come on to the scene. Each student chose a subject they were interested in and then through first-hand interviews and primary sources did the research and wrote the article. Each article was printed in the Kiowa County Press. The high school staff that guided this project included Pete Conrad, EHS English teacher, and Betsy Barnett, District Media Specialist. The project won a state history award in 2000.

The Unfolding of Weisbrod Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home

A man from across foreign seas has left his footprint as an impression in many people’s hearts. Lives have been saved, and humanity has profited; all from the dream of this single man. Left behind as a memorial in remembrance for him, an institution has arisen forth unfolding a story for all.

Born in Germany, George Weisbrod came to America with his parents as a boy and served during the closure of the Civil War. He established a homestead on the edge of Lincoln County where he participated in stock raising. In 1906, he became involved with the First National Bank in the town of Eads. Then in 1912 he sold his cattle and shared his success as a financier with any worthwhile person. He lived strong until his death on the evening of Tuesday, September 9, 1924.

George Weisbrod departed life leaving behind a legacy which led to a turning point for health care in Kiowa County. A precedent was set with the construction of an establishment instructed by George Weisbrod’s Last Will & Testimony. Having never married, he donated the remains of his estate, including Lots 10, 11, and 12 in Block 26, as well as an unspecified amount of money to build a hospital. In his own words, Weisbrod’s intention was to build a “legacy to benefit humanity in means and ways of relieving suffering human beings.” The hospital was accepted as a WPA (Works Progress Administration) project in 1937, but the Depression, the Dust Bowl years, and the rise of World War II delayed further construction.

On April 1, 1943, Dr. Ralph E. Irish guided the hospital to use for the first time, although it took a period of time before the entire facility was used. The hospital’s official opening wasn’t until later in 1943 because it lacked a registered nurse. Janet Buck, daughter of Morgan and Ila Buck, was the first baby delivered by Dr. Irish in the hospital on November 7, 1943. The first people chosen to serve as trustees were Kelley Jackson, Tommy Rose, H. Kern McDowell, Madge France, Rose Osolin, and Belva Berry. These people shared active interest in the many changes the hospital went through.

Over its years of productivity, Weisbrod Memorial Hospital felt that additions were needed because of its development. With these additions, the facility changed from a County Hospital to a District Hospital in June of 1963. After this change, a new board of five elected members worked side by side with the original board. Then a new modern hospital was built in a wing north of the original building, and the original building was remodeled into a nine-bed nursing home. In 1970, another wing was built on the south side of the original building extending the nursing home. These additions brought about several modern improvements.

Technology began to rise throughout Weisbrod Memorial Hospital’s operations. The hospital delivered babies, provided x-rays, performed minor surgeries, and employed lab technicians. Before these developments, people cured themselves or went somewhere that offered such procedures. Tests became more involved, easier, and more numerous in number. Technology today allows physicians to pinpoint diseases whereas much of a physician’s judgment was based in the early years on intuition.

Weisbrod Memorial Hospital supplied a number of well-rounded, respected positions for employees. The hospital provided jobs for the community such as cafeteria work, cooks, and maintenance positions. It was a good employment that paid fair wages, but it wasn’t the top employing organization during its time. In 1956, Drs. Moore and Graham were the staff doctors. Dr. Moore was the surgeon and Dr. Graham provided most of the deliveries. Serving as highly regarded individuals, they brought the hospital business from Holly, Granada, Bristol, and other surrounding communities. Having worked extremely hard to obtain the new additions, they left shortly afterwards.

Relationships between the Weisbrod Memorial Hospital and the community have always been variable between the output of the community and the doctors together with the staff. Doctors who weren’t qualified gave community members bad opinions toward the hospital’s performance as a whole.

The doctors who did qualify and who were the most successful often demonstrated community involvement by serving on a position for the local school board or on the Chamber of Commerce. These displays of community interest showed how larger hospitals have never been as community-based as Weisbrod has been in Eads. Even city hospitals held high standards of respect towards Weisbrod. During more recent years, when critical patients were sent to city hospitals, doctors would speak highly of the care Weisbrod professionals provided and stressed the importance of their initial treatment necessary for patient’s survival later on.

With the pivotal economic and social events of ups and downs that Weisbrod Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home has experienced, a tribute is owed to the many who have made it successful. Within that tribute we should not forget those who have had to roll with the punches and change with the times. Since 1983, the hospital has been fortunate in maintaining the excellent and caring services of Dr. John Hadley, who has contributed countless hours to the well-being of his patients. The man who started it all and the many doctors and staff who have come and gone, as well as the people who have encompassed it as a community, have all taken part in its performance. Among these people of numerous number many lives have been affected. Each and every person who ever knew about the hospital’s deeds knows that a success has been accomplished in its establishment.

Land once occupied by the pioneers of early times, is now the occupant of an organization of great means. It served as a once thriving hospital, but today, stands as a distinguished nursing home alongside a hospital of smaller scale. No matter how a person wants to view its past, Weisbrod Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home have possessed the qualities of making us all proud.

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