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Sunrise Optimists get a history lesson

Roger K. Burnett August speaker chairman for the Sunrise Optimist Club, congratulates Jan Dunnahoo on her presentation. (Submitted Photo)

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Jan Dunnahoo, archive director for the Historical Society Museum Archives, presented a fact-filled informative PowerPoint program on the history of St. Mary’s Hospital. The program included a slide presentation, which showed the growth and development of the hospital over the years.

Ms. Dunnahoo explained how the population of the area required healthcare in a hospital situation. Seeing the need for medical personnel, due to the large cases of tuberculosis and other medical needs, in 1902 the citizens of Roswell were seeking means to establish a hospital.

Funds were raised and construction started in 1905. Hundreds of fruit trees and a large irrigated garden was built on site. The produce grown was used for the patients and the sisters as well. Catholic Nuns from Wichita, Kansas arrived shortly after to staff the hospital.

In 1907, a new building was constructed for the consumptives and a new chapel was built. A second floor was soon added. St. Mary’s hospital continues to grow and in 1942, a new wing was added to house X-ray and other equipment. More additions continued, but in 1995 the doors were finally closed due to deteriorating conditions of the building.

The Sunrise Optimist Club meets Wednesday mornings, at the Red Onion Restaurant, at 7 a.m. If you would like to hear community speakers on topics concerning Roswell residents or find out more about the Sunrise Optimist Club and their projects to assist the youth of Roswell, join us for breakfast at a regular meeting.

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Remember to save your aluminum tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. Contact an Optimist Club member to have them picked up.