Doctor N.S. Simons and Dr. E.A. MacCornack were the Whitehall Community Hospital's first doctors. Dr. Simons purchased a local doctor's practice in 1914 and invited Dr. MacCornack to move to Whitehall from Keokuk, Iowa. The pair did surgery in the Parker House, a residence on Whitehall's Dewey Street and even did surgery at patients' homes before the hospital was built.
The original Whitehall Community Hospital was built in 1917 for $10,000. The hospital could hold 16 patients. A $20,000 addition in 1924 made space for a total of 35 beds.
The same year the hospital was built, Dr. MacCornack's wife established a nurses' training school. It operated until 1931 in conjunction with the hospital and graduated 52 nurses, several of whom returned for the February 1965 opening of Tri-County Memorial.
In 1961, State of Wisconsin officials urged Whitehall Community Hospital officials consider building a new, more-modern facility. A 1962 fund drive netted an eventual $250,000 and ground was broken in July 1963. It was completed in early 1965, and renamed Tri-County Memorial Hospital.
Tri-County Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home in Whitehall entered the third phase of its history in 1998 as the community celebrated a $5.5 million building and renovation project that year.
That project came more than three decades after the 1963-65 construction. The "Renewed Beginning" theme for the 1998 open house focused on how the mid-1990s project made Tri-County a better healthcare facility yet one that still embraced its heritage. Key improvements included:
Tri-County began its $500,000 "Building For The Future" building campaign in the fall of 1993 after then-CEO Ronald Fields, department managers and employees evaluated their space needs and realized they needed a larger Laboratory, Emergency Room and Rehab Services, among other areas. Staff also knew that having the nursing home on the second and third floors wasn't conducive to the best-possible care.
Nearly 700 area residents, Tri-County employees, former patients and friends pledged more than $550,000 to the building campaign. Nearly 95 percent of Tri-County employees also pledged to make their facility better; their pledges alone tallied about $80,000.
Construction began in the early fall of 1995. R.J. Jurowski Construction, Inc., of Whitehall was the general contractor. The work progressed in two phases: First was new construction of the third-floor nursing home; Emergency Room; Laboratory; and Rehab Services. As those departments vacated their former spaces, builders began the second phase of renovating the rest of the building. The projected added 28,715 square feet of new construction. More than 29,800 square feet of existing space was remodeled.
As our century mark appears on the horizon, Tri-County has taken another significant step forward as it strengthens its affiliation with the Gundersen Health System and becomes Gundersen Tri-County Hospital and Clinics. We now are a comprehensive rural healthcare network serving Trempealeau County, eastern Buffalo County and western Jackson County.
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