We know–we mention it frequently. 1947. (Since 1947. Chasing Perfection Since 1947. Established in 1947.) But honestly, we can’t help it. There is just something about a date like that. It signifies ideals like longevity, tradition, experience, durability, reliability. 1947 means something, well, more…
After World War II, the need for uranium quickly faded and the projected population boom of Monticello never happened. Records show there was only one doctor in San Juan County and if someone needed hospital services, they had to travel north 54 miles to Grand County Hospital.
The Vanadium Corporation of America (VCA) had operated a mill in Monticello, but with the demand for uranium gone, the staff houses they had built were to be closed and sold. The county commissioners at that time (Noel Sitton, Leonard Bartell, and John Rogers) approached various government agencies and asked that the VCA homes be sold to the county to be used as hospital facilities.
In June of 1947, word was received that the staff houses would be sold to San Juan County and on June 24th, the county commissioners met in a regular session to officially start the process of making a hospital a reality, including the creation of the first hospital board (George M. Palmer, Ruth Redd, George Hurst, Clement Johnson, and Oscar Jameson) with Dr. Wesley L. Bayles to serve as the hospital’s first medical director.
Wasting no time, the hospital board met the following day to prepare a budget to present to the commissioners. The numbers presented in that first budget are almost unbelievable when juxtaposed against today’s costs and included paying the doctor a salary of $6,250, a registered nurse a salary of $2,100, a part-time secretary a salary of $300, and a cost of $1000 for fuel for the hospital.
As part of the budget process, bake sales and dances were quickly held for fundraising to be applied toward the purchase of equipment. This local buy-in started a tradition of community-involvement and support which continues to this day.
Ten years later in the fall of 1957, plans were formulated for a new hospital building and two years later in December 1959, the 29-bed facility was accepted by the county commissioners and hospital board. San Juan Hospital went live the following month in January 1960.
Since that time, we have added three clinics–one in Monticello, one in Blanding, and one in Spanish Valley (which opened in the fall of 2021).
So we start back where we literally began: 1947. We celebrated our 75th year in 2022–another meaningful milestone.
Now we look forward to the next 75…