With the recent razing of the first Starbuck Hospital, there has been a renewed interest in the history of Hospitals in Starbuck. Here is a brief overview, taken from the pages of local newspapers and the Starbuck Centennial book.
The building of the first hospital in Starbuck was initiated by Dr. C.R. Christenson in 1899. The 10-14 bed hospital opened in 1900 and was hailed as a thoroughly modern institution with hot water, steam heat, electric lights and telephone service. The three story wooden structure was the only hospital between St. Cloud and Fargo and attracted patients from throughout western Minnesota and the Dakotas. In addition to Dr. Christenson, Doctors L.L. Gibbon of Lowry, E.A. Eberlin of Glenwood, H. Linde of Cyrus, J.R. Elsey of Glenwood, C.E. Caine of Morris and L. Ransom of Hancock were all attending physicians at the hospital.
The Glenwood Herald, in September 1900, carried a glowing article about the hospital and also noted, “If there is any one man or woman in the village of Starbuck of which its citizens can justly feel proud, that man is Dr. Christenson, who unaided and alone has planned, built and completed this very creditable home for the sick and suffering. No other man has done more than he to place in that village an institution which will ever redound to its credit and dignity, both at home and elsewhere. If this hospital stands and in maintained at the high standard of excellence with which it has started, the name and enterprise of Dr. Christenson will be blessed and cherished perhaps by generations yet unborn.”
The Hospital was indeed a success, but by 1911, it was considered too small and out of date. (The building stood another 100 years until it was razed in January of 2013. It was used as an apartment building for most of those 100 years.)
Local professional men met and organized a committee to plan a new building and solicit funds. The entire cost of the $20,000 structure was raised through local donations.
The second hospital was built in 1912 with a grand dedication in January of 1913. A large number of people turned out for the dedication ceremonies, presided over by Reverend Nils Forde, and held in the town hall.
The new two and a half story brick building boasted noiseless siphon steam heating, distinct ventilation for each room, a built-in vacuum cleaning system, and seven foot elevator for accommodation hospital beds.
A large addition was constructed in 1951.
There were public meetings in 1971 to consider building one large hospital in Pope County, but by 1973, Western Pope County wanted a hospital nearby, and were willing to support it financially. The newly formed hospital board met and presented a bond issue to the public for $1,200,000. It passed by over a 90% margin. There would remain 2 small hospitals in Pope County.
Dedication ceremonies for the new modern Minnewaska District Hospital were held in March of 1977.
The hospital closed in 2005 due to changing economic conditions. The building is now used to house the Glacial Hills Elementary School.