Saint Joseph's Miners Hospital
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Drawing of Saint Joseph's Hospital
Picture by Rachel Jennings

Without St. Joseph’s Hospital, many miners would have died. In the year 1887, Francis Carney built the three story hospital of native stone. The Sisters of Mercy ran it. They cared for many injured and dying miners as well as other people of Ouray. As of 1895, the Sisters of Mercy closed the hospital because they didn’t have the money to run it. The silver crisis of 1893 made it hard to raise money. Finally, they did raise more funds and were able to reopen. In 1899, Tom Walsh saved the hospital again by paying the overdue debt. He told them he would pay if the sisters would continue to run the hospital. He wanted the hospital to remain open to care for his Camp Bird miners if they were injured during their dangerous work. In the year 1920, it was sold to Dr. Carl V. Bates. He ran it without the Sisters of Mercy.

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Saint Joseph's Miners Hospital, now a museum
Picture by Ty Edder
Dr. Bates ran it for 25 years. He also owned Radium Hot Springs that is now the Wiesbaden. He believed hot water was healthful for his patients. In 1945, he sold it to the Idarado Mine Company. They wanted it so their miners would not die if they got hurt. They closed it in 1964 and it remained empty for a while. In the year 1977, the Ouray County Historical Society purchased it and made it a spectacular museum. The St. Joseph’s hospital saved many lives over the years.

by Cullen Klein and Chiara Degenhardt

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