St. John's Hospital
1884-1973
Two Structures

In 1869, six Sisters of Charity from Leavenworth, Kansas arrived in Helena, and set about their mission to educate youth, nurse the sick, and care for orphans.

Read the interesting story of "Catholic Hill" and the institutions founded there, by visiting "More From the Quarries of Last Chance Gulch" on the METNET site.



The 1884 St. John's Hospital • Demolished 1950
46°35'6.47"N 112° 2'16.54"W

The first St. John's Hospital was a wooden frame structure built in 1870. The brick building shown in the tinted period postcard above was built in 1884 and enlarged in 1901-02. It was weakened by earthquakes in 1935, fell into disuse, and was finally demolished in the spring of 1950. This edifice stood atop "Catholic Hill", across South Ewing St. from where the "new" St. John's was built in 1939...

 

Footprint of the 1884 St. John's Hospital superimposed on a recent satellite image. The hospital was expanded in 1901-02.




COURTESY OF THE DAVID POOR COLLECTION • CLICK ON IMAGE TO OPEN A BIG VIEW IN A NEW WINDOW




 

St. John's Nurses, ca. 1911


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRDCLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VIEW IN A NEW WINDOW



St. John's Hospital, 1920s


COURTESY OF SEAN LOGAN • CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VIEW IN A NEW WINDOW

 

Badly Damaged by 1935 Earthquakes
Photo Taken Nov. 11 1935


COURTESY OF THE SEAN LOGAN COLLECTION • CLICK ON IMAGE TO OPEN A BIG VERSION IN A NEW WINDOW

"St. John's was forced to evacuate its patients, some of them going home, others to St. Peter's [which was relatively undamaged by the quakes] and some to Butte and Deer Lodge, Montana. Authorities of the institution immediately began to make plans for the removal of the hospital plant to the nearly-completed hospital of the Montana Children's Home [Shodair], where they expected to remain for at least a year." -- Helena Earthquakes, by C. R. Anderson and M. P. Martinson, 1936

 

Earthquake-damaged Stack Shot Down, 1935

National Guardsmen with high-powered rifles brought down the damaged stack of the St. John's Hospital heating plant on October 18, 1935.


COURTESY OF THE DAVID POOR COLLECTION

 


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD

 

The 1939 St. John's Hospital
46°35'4.71"N 112° 2'13.51"W


COURTESY OF THE DAVID POOR COLLECTION • CLICK ON IMAGE TO OPEN A BIG VIEW IN A NEW WINDOW

The 1939 St. John's Hospital building is still standing, but the hospital closed in 1973. It now serves as offices and a nursing home facility.




Dedication of the cornerstone, St. John's Hospital, June 24 1939


COURTESY OF KATHRYN FEHLIG • CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VIEW IN A NEW WINDOW

The cornerstone from the 1884 building was relaid in the 1939 building. The stone was opened after being removed from the 1884 building, and was found to contain a dedicatory review of the hospital's history, a prayer for the instution's success, business and professional cards from Helena's leading citizens, and a sprig of pine -- an evergreen symbol of life. These relics were replaced in the stone, along with items from 1939.

 


COURTESY OF KATHRYN FEHLIG

Dedication of the cornerstone St. John's Hospital, June 24 1939 (detail). At the center is Bishop J. M. Gilmore.

 


COURTESY OF KATHRYN FEHLIG

An informal photo taken on the day of the cornerstone dedication. Standing at center is George Jacoby, the building contractor. Seated to the right is Msgr. Victor Day. The man on the left may be architect J. G. Link.

THANKS TO SISTER DOLORES BRINKEL, ARCHIVIST OF THE DIOCESE OF HELENA, FOR HER HELP ON THIS SECTION.

 

 

Lobby, St. John's Hospital


COURTESY OF THE DAVID POOR COLLECTION

 

Chapel, St. John's Hospital


COLLECTION OF KENNON BAIRD • CLICK ON IMAGE FOR A BIG VIEW IN A NEW WINDOW

 

Shrine and oratory, St. John's Hospital

COURTESY OF ORCHARD LAKES SCHOOLS, ORCHARD LAKE, MICHIGAN

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