While reading about the initial construction of the new hospital, a lot of memories came back to me. How well I remember the old St. Vincent’s Hospital on Hemlock Street. It consisted of three levels. The lower level was entered behind the outside stairs. The kitchen was there, and we took milk there for many years. The other two upper levels made up the rest of the hospital. I loved the life-sized religious statues in that old hospital and really miss them when they are not present in the newer hospitals and churches. The Sisters of Charity ran the hospital and St. Mary’s School back then. Dr. Vincent Kelly and Dr. John Kehoe were our very caring and faithful medical doctors in Leadville for a long time.
In August of 1958, a dedication was held for our then-new St. Vincent Hospital on the lower west side of Leadville. For some reason, the name was changed from St. Vincent’s Hospital to St. Vincent Hospital. Interesting. There was a very large crowd in attendance. In addition to the locals, many people came from all over the state. The ceremony went very well and consisted of some history, a great deal of hope and many prayers for the success of this new facility. Dorothy Ann Zalar and I sang at that dedication because Father George Spehar of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church requested that we do so. It was a wonderful experience for both of us, and I remember it like it was yesterday. Dorothy and I graduated from Leadville High School in 1954.
Dorothy was home visiting, having just completed her Bachelor of Music and Music Education degree at St. Mary College. I had gone to Adams State College for one year but had to return to Leadville to work at our family dairy and help raise our younger children because my older brother John had been drafted into the U.S. Army. Ironically, on Oct. 28, 1958, at 10 a.m., we received our induction papers from Mrs. Verna Schupp, director of the Selective Service Program, and Jim Kerrigan, Louie Hren and I boarded the Continental Trailways Bus for our trip to Denver to be inducted into the U. S. Army.
I shall follow the construction of the new hospital and will be especially interested in the dedication of that hospital when it takes place.