Valley history on hospitals and hospitality

Curator’s Corner: local student shares history about valley hospital and call for ongoing care

Submitted by Ross Haworth

Special to the Pioneer

With a pandemic continuing to spread across the globe and dominating the international conversation, residents of the Columbia Valley are becoming increasingly conscious of our hospital systems. The first discussion of a hospital in the region was in late 1899 when it was decided by some concerned citizens that a place where the injured could be cared for was dearly needed.

A subscription list was written up where a person could write their name and donation. These donations went to a “small Emergency Hospital, to become the property of the inhabitants of Peterborough [Wilmer], but to be open to all comers excepting only infectious or contagious patients.”

Donations ranged from five dollars to a hundred dollars in lumber, with one man even offering two days of work. Named Windermere District Hospital the building was constructed in 1900. The building was the valley’s hospital for eleven years during which Dr. Elliot and Dr. Hanington served the sick and injured. In 1911 it was decided that the building was inadequate and so it was moved to the Union Hotel.

Looking back we can see historically how our community has stayed strong in difficult times.

Jean McMartin Weir came to Wilmer from Ireland to work as a nurse. She wrote of an experience treating a hunting accident: “The patient’s neck and shoulders were riddled with shot. That case let me know how kind the people in the valley were. A man phoned from Athalmer that evening and asked, “How is Chris Rawlas?” I told him the doctor was quite pleased with how he was after the shock. The man said that there was to be a dance in Athalmer that night, but if Chris had been in a serious state the dance was to be postponed.”

We can look back on that story and be proud of our community’s togetherness. In this time of crisis we need to act in a way that people will be able to look back on in a hundred years with pride. We need to act with neighbourly compassion for those around us, even if we have to postpone a few dances.

About the author: Ross Haworth is a student at DTSS who has an interest in writing and local history. Writing a little about the local history allows Ross to record what he knows while polishing his writing skills.

Just Posted

Métis communities make do with minimal financial aid from Trudeau; CBT offers support

Métis citizens in valley forged ahead thanks to support from local leadership and community groups

Radium’s beloved bighorn sheep herd on the decline

Advocates say safer streets needed

Flood evacuation in Fairmont; residents able to return home

Evacuation alerts remain in place for Fairmont Creek and Cold Spring Creek.

Copper Point Golf Course copes with COVID-19 safety measures

General manager says golf is one of few sports where implementing safety measures is fairly simple

Freshwater turtle sightings

Stewardship group wants to know where you’ve seen turtles in the Columbia Valley

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Most Read