Healthy habits: a look at Weston County's hospital history

NLJ Staff


itizens in Weston County have a storied history of reaching into their own pockets to fund hospitals. A Dec 6, 1945 News Letter Journal article indicated that the Newcastle and Upton Lions Clubs originated the idea of a new memorial hospital in Weston County shortly after WWII. A petition was submitted to the board of county commissioners and a committee was appointed, with the estimated cost of the building alone at $80,000. 

A June 13, 1946 NLJ article detailed that electors were being called upon to vote for the purpose of passing on a $130,000 bond issue for the construction of the Weston County Memorial Hospital. A July 11, 1946 article detailed that donations were subscribed by citizens and organizations early in the spring that amounted to
approximately $20,000, the voluntary subscription was to conform with Wyoming statutes which provided that before the commissioners can take action toward building or acquiring a hospital, citizens must first subscribe not less than $15,000 which satisfies that there is need and a desire by the people for such an institution. The subscribed funds were collected from Dec. 1945, and by March 14, 1946 over $19,000 was tallied by
generous Weston county citizens. These donations ranged from $1 to $1,000 increments, and spanned five columns of individuals’ names and organizations. On July 16, a heavy voter turnout of 1,183 people overwhelmingly
supported the measure, and opening day for the new hospital was
Sept 12, 1949. 

Thirty years later, after a 1979 study was conducted by the UW College of Human Medicine, a medical planning committee was formed representing various leadership groups in Weston County in 1982. The following year a joint powers board was created to undertake construction and financing of a new hospital facility. Construction began in 1984, with financing to be obtained by $1,941,000 in Farm Loan Board Grants. County voters had approved $1.5 million in general obligation bonds and $1 million from one percent sales tax revenue, along with an additional $225,000 from gifts and donations raised from area businesses, individuals and memorials. After six years of efforts by the citizens of Weston County, a May 15, 1986 dedication and open house was held at the new hospital facility.

Nearly three decades later, Weston County Health Services sought a four phase renovation plan for the manor and hospital, including upgrading mechanical and electrical systems. Voters in May of 2015 passed a one percent optional sales tax to raise $8.75 million needed to complete the proposed $14.2 million renovation of the facility. At the time, it was estimated the additional tax would last for
7-8 years.


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News Letter Journal
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