The Calgary Heritage Initaitive presented its research to the Calgary Heritage Authority in July. As a result the Western Hospital was in October 2006 added to the Municipal Inventory of Potential Historic Sites as a 'Category A' building.
The Western Hospital
was a small private hospital that operated in Calgary from 1912 to 1941 in two buildings, the second of which survives to this day at 302, 14th Avenue SW. See CHI's research below. If you can add any information about the Western Hospital or the history of the house please send a note to email@example.com
From 1912 to 1923 the Western Hospital was at 351 – 13th Avenue SW, across from the First Baptist Church. You can see a photo of this building, now demolished, in the Glenbow archives using the keyword search term “Western Hospital”. Here is the link to the archives: http://ww2.glenbow.org/search/archivesPhotosSearch.aspx
By the mid-twenties this building became a mortuary. It was demolished sometime after 1955. From 1923 to 1941 the hospital was in a converted house at 302, 14th Ave SW, on the NW corner of 14th Avenue and 2nd Street SW, across from Haultain school. The house still exists, pictured above.
Original owner-occupant, H.P. Norton
302, 14th Avenue SW was built in 1909 as the home of H.P. Norton. A small ground floor addition on the western side of the house almost to the property line was added by 1911 according to fire insurance maps. The exterior of the house seems virtually unchanged since then.
Norton lived there until 1911, then moved to Sunalta and then Mount Royal. He continued to own the house until 1922, renting to a variety of tenants. Norton was a farm implement salesman – first for Nichols and Shepard Co. Ltd. (1909), then as co-manager of Tuec Co. Ltd. (1912), then he ran his own companies, H.P. Norton Co. (1916), and Norton and Lief Co. (1920). In 1920 and 1921 he takes a turn as the manager of the St. Regis Hotel. http://www.regisplazahotel.com
After that he disappears from the Hendersons Directories, and sells the house.
Norton’s tenants at 302 14th Avenue:
1912 – Mr. Irene N. Nason
1913 – Bartley C. Nicklin, an electrician for Gracey-Crane Co.
1914 – Norman MacLagan, Manager of Rjay Cigar Stores Ltd.
1915, 1916 – Clarence A. Lynch, streetcar conductor
1917-1919 – Florence Deller, who becomes Mrs. Florence Harness in 1919 (married to Mr. John W. Harness, a salesman at Nickle Boot Shops). In 1919 she moves into a nearby house at 1417 1st Street SW, and operates 302 14th Avenue as a rooming house.
1920, 1921 – Albert Metcalf, taxi driver, proprietor of American Auto Livery.
1921 – Alfred H. Cosby
1922 – Mrs. H.C. Locke
The Western Hospital
In 1923 H.P. Norton sells 302 14th Avenue to nurses Mrs. Veda Dyer Seller (nee Veda Dyer) and Miss Gladys Creeggan, who have been operating the Western Hospital since 1912 from a building on the other corner of the block. Seller and Creeggan move the Western Hospital to this location, and own the building until 1941.
Matrons of the Western Hospital include:
1912-1927 – Veda D. Seller and Gladys Creeggan
1928 – Veda Seller
1929 – Mrs. Gladys Sullivan
1930 – Mrs. M.E. Taylor
1935-37 – Helen E. Fisher
1938-39 – Victoria Ray
1940-41 – Mrs. C. Poynter
The Western was one of a number of private hospitals that came and went in Calgary and mostly disappeared by the 1950s. Most specialized as nursing homes for the elderly or maternity homes. Some of the latter were very small operations in private homes. Some were owned by individuals, but many were run by charitable institutions of one kind or another. They served an important function as the larger hospitals, the city-owned General and the Catholic Church-run Holy Cross hospital, were often overcrowded. [Hospital crowding, the need for modern facilities and population growth let to the building of a new (fourth) General Hospital in Bridgeland site in the 1940s]
The Western is somewhat unusual in that it was privately owned by two nurses, was long-lived, lasting 30 years (including 20 years in the surviving building), and in that a wide variety of medical services were provided there be a variety of doctors from different practices.
It served as a maternity hospital. In 1936 (for example) there were 26 births at the Western Hospital noted in the Calgary Herald out of 145 birth announcements listed for the year.
Eleanor King Byers, author of The House With The Light On
, a memoir of Calgary in the 40s and 50s, reports that "Both my brothers were born at Western Hospital: Stan in 1929, delivered by Dr. Charles Bouck; and Don in 1934, delivered by Dr. Albert Aikenhead." Dr. Bouck was a well-known Calgary surgeon with offices in the nearby Underwood Block. Dr. Albert Aikenhead was a founding member of the Calgary Associate Clinic, one of the premier medical practices of early Calgary. See below for more biographical information on these doctors.
Dr. Gerald Milward McDougall, author of three books on the history of medicine and medical teaching in Alberta and Manitoba, was also born at the Western Hospital. Dr. McDougall is a decendent of pioneer Reverend George McDougall and his son John McDougall. Dr. McDougall's father worked for the CPR and his family was under the care of CPR divisional surgeons, the Mackid practice. It is presumed by Dr. McDougall that he was 'delivered' by a Mackid doctor. See below for more on the Mackids.
Well known Calgary realtor Gerald Knowlton was born at the hospital in 1933, delivered by Dr. L.G. Alexander. Dr. Alexander was a major medical figure and World War 2 hero who served as a doctor at the Dieppe raid and across Europe. He was recently chosen by the Alberta Medical Association as one of Alberta's "Physicians of the Century": http://www.medicine100.ab.ca/physicians ... xander.htm
W.H. (Danny) Copithorne reports having his tonsils out at the Western Hospital in 1939 by Dr. A.E. Shore of the Gunn, Hackney, Shore and Robbins practice. The practice (originally Gunn and Shore) was a major medical practice in Calgary between the wars, specializing in eye, ear, nose and throat. Gunn in particular is a major figure in Calgary (see below).
In terms of a variety of services, a secretary to Calgary newspaperman/humourist Bob Edwards, a famous drunk, wrote that Edwards used to go to the Western's previous 4th Street location to recuperate after major drinking bouts. Edwards died in 1921.
The hospital at its later location also treated injured oilfield workers.
In the late 1930s-early 1940s one of the Western Hospital’s nurses was Annie McLeod, who is important to the history of nursing and hospitals in Southern Alberta. During the 1918-1919 flu pandemic, McLeod was the Matron of the V.O.N. hospital in High River. The V.O.N. hospital closed when the High River Municipal Hospital opened in 1921, and McLeod stayed on as Matron. Under McLeod, the High River hospital became the first municipal hospital in Alberta recognized as a training school for nurses. From 1921-34 the small school graduated 19 nurses. In 1924 her first two graduates received their diplomas and pins from the Prince of Wales, who had a nearby ranch. The school closed in 1934 and sometime after that McLeod went to work at the Western Hospital in Calgary.
In the late 1930s there was an oil boom in Turner Valley, and some injured oil workers were brought to the Western Hospital for treatment. This got McLeod interested in the Turner Valley area, and in the early 1940s, at the prompting of the Herron oil business, Annie went to Turner Valley and started the Oilfields Hospital in a converted cookhouse rented from the Herron’s Okalta Oils. This is said to be the last private hospital in Alberta set up by a nurse as a business. McLeod died in 1949, but the hospital survived. The Oilfields General Hospital is the name of the Black Diamond/Turner Valley hospital today. Source: “Heritage of Service: The History of Nursing in Alberta” http://22.214.171.124//medhist/page.aspx?id=15896
Here is what Jack Peach, a well known chronicler of Calgary history, had to say about the Western Hospital:
“its owner was Mrs. Barber (note: Barber does not show up in Henderson’s or the tax roles – Peach may be in error.), a registered nurse, and her right hand was nurse Miss Creagan (sic). The hospital they opened on the NW corner of 14th Avenue and 2nd Street West (was a converted) old Calgary residence. The two women transformed the rambling turreted family home into a spotless little hospital to serve about ten patients, with cheerful rooms, and a small, shiny, well-equipped operating room at the back of the house.”
“The meals were good, the service very personal, and the medical services top-notch. Doctors, vocal in their praise, liked the Western because of its equipment and the one-on-one ambiance involving patient, nurse, physician or surgeon.”
Jack Peach’s parents were hospitalized at the Western on more than one occasion. He recalled: “It was my first childhood contact with a hospital, its hushed whiteness, its carbolic smell, the strict visiting hour schedule. Looking back on it, the Western was an intimate, antiseptic island, and the passport to it was a frown directed at me, and a quiet voice with a commanding ‘Shhh!’ designed for small noisy boys.”
Source: Jack Peach ‘Thanks for the Memories’.
Veda Seller and Gladys Creeggan closed the Western Hospital in 1942 and sold the building to retiree John Hurrell. 302 14th Avenue becomes a private residence again.
1942-59 home of John Thomas Hurrell (retired), and his wife Lucille. John dies in 1943 and his wife stays in the home until 1959.
1960-1964 home of Mrs. Mary Watt
1965 – converted to apartments. 8-10 units