OLD WINFIELD LANDMARKS - Panel Six Winfield Public Library Exhibit

St. Mary’s Hospital & Pilcher’s Surgical Home

Winfield’s first hospitals were established in the same year - 1899.

St. Mary’s

The 57-apartment Village East Condominiums and the Prime Time Restaurant on East Ninth occupy the site of the old St. Mary’s Hospital.

The 1976 bicentennial history, "Winfield and the Walnut Valley, " tells us that in 1899 the Winfield Hospital Association, consisting of interested citizens, built "a two-story frame structure of 10 rooms, one surgery and a reception chapel at College and Ninth avenues." It was called "a marvel of up-to-date construction and equipment .... in 1903, the Roman Catholic order of the Sisters of St. Joseph took charge of the hospital, renaming it St. Mary’s. Two additions were made initially with a heating plant and laundry added later."

Faith Hanna of Cumbernauld Village, whose father, dentist Claude A. Martin, was a member of the hospital medical staff, recalls a long porch along the north side of the hospital building on East Ninth. Faith says all the doctors were non-Catholic. She said most of the sisters were of Irish descent and she especially remembers Sister Bridget, a cook at the hospital "with a wonderful sense of humor." Faith also recalls that her father always provided free dental work for the nuns

The bicentennial history continues: "In 1918, the hospital was replaced by a $182,000 (four-story) brick building with fifty beds, three operating rooms, an x-ray department, kitchen and a diet kitchen on each floor. It employed seven trained nurses, a registered pharmacist, an x-ray technician and fourteen student nurses in 1924. The hospital continued operation until 1961 when it converted to the Good Samaritan nursing home." It was torn down in the early 1970s and the present Village East condominiums were built on the site.

Winfield native Robert E. Hartley of Westminister, Colo., was born at St. Mary’s and was delivered by Dr. Cecil Snyder. The newspaper journalist added, "My sister, who had polio in the 1950s, was treated there. Doctors in town all practiced at St. Mary’s, and Protestants went there. We were Presbyterians."

Pilcher’s Surgical Home/Winfield Hospital

After Dr. F. Hoyt Pilcher resigned his position at the Winfield StateTraining School, he established the Surgical Home at Tenth and Manning in 1899. No further information is given until after his death in 1908 when the structure was purchased by Drs. Edward O. Smith and Flavius R. Smith. They changed the name to Winfield Hospital and five years later there was extensive remodeling and an addition made to the building. The 1976 Winfield and Walnut Valley History states "the institution was considered one of the most modern of the era."

"The Doctors Smith were joined by Dr. C.C. Hawke shortly before World War I. Dr. Hawke left to serve in the armed forces but returned after the war."

A nurses’ training school was associated with the hospital. Miss Nettie Crawford was the hospital administrator.

Following Dr. E.O. Smith’s death in 1926 and Dr. Flavius Smith’s death in 1927, the newer part of the hospital was made into the Homestead Apartment house and the older section was torn down.

Howard Buffum April, 2000

A related article in the Wichita Eagle