Transcribed from History of Wyandotte County Kansas and its people ed. and comp. by Perl W. Morgan. Chicago, The Lewis publishing company, 1911. 2 v. front., illus., plates, ports., fold. map. 28 cm. [Vol. 2 contains biographical data. Paged continuously.]




The service of the good Samaritan has been administered to more than fifty thousand afflicted persons in St. Margaret's Hospital during the twenty-four years that it has looked benignly down from the heights above the Kansas river in Kansas City, Kansas. It gives, day-in and day-out, a visible and stanch assurance of aid and comfort to the busy world below, where, in the excitement of industrial activity, men play with death and rumbling wheels watch their opportunity to maim and mangle. The additions and the wings that have been added to the original main building give it distinction as one of the largest and best equipped hospitals in the country.

St. Margaret's is a monument to the energy, perseverance and the deep human sympathy of an humble priest, who has lived to see his fondest hopes realized in it. It is also a Splendid evidence of public philanthropy without distinction of creed or sect and an enduring memorial to the patient and self-sacrificingdevotion of a little band of Sisters of St. Francis.

While credit for the growth and enlargement of its work belongs to the Sisters, St. Margaret's owes its existence to the Rev. Father Anton Kuhls, founder and for nearly fifty years pastor, of St. Mary's parish in Kansas City, Kansas. In 1886 a respectable stranger, delirious with typhoid fever, was picked up in the streets of Wyandotte (as it was then called) and sent to the city jail. There was no other place in which he could be accommodated, and he begged to be permitted to die in the open air. The case attracted the attention of Father Kuhls. His heart was touched and he was impressed with the need of a public hospital on the Kansas side of the line. He issued a stirring appeal to his fellow citizens to aid him in the project of establishing such an institution. This was the inception of the movement that resulted in the fine refuge for the sick, the poor and the maimed on the hills above the Kaw.

Father Kuhls came to Wyandotte county forty-seven years ago. His life work was to build up St. Mary's parish, where he has established a school and has laid the foundation for a magnificent church edifice. His most important achievement, however, considering its present magnitude as compared with the original project, was the building of St. Margaret's Hospital. It has more than realized his highest hopes.


St. Margaret's Hospital,  Kansas City.

The building was begun on April 15, 1887, and dedicated November 19th of that year. Its dimensions were fifty by one hundred feet and the cost was $20,000. Of this all excepting $350 was Father Kuhl's own donation. When the Sisters arrived and the doors were opened it became apparent at once that the hospital would be inadequate to meet the demands upon it. This afforded the best of proof that it was needed.

In a public address, after the hospital had been opened, Father Kuhls set forth that it had been built and equipped at his own risk, and would be turned over to the Sisters of St. Francis. Then he deeded the property to them. He urged that liberal support be given the institution, and suggested that "promises fulfilled are real charities."

The original building had accommodations for fifty patients. Two years after it was finished, the west wing was constructed, providing room for fifty more. In three years another wing was built on the east side, and, by remodeling the other sections, room was provided for more than two hundred. A new addition later was built as an annex on the south side, and gives the building altogether, including the quarters of the attendants, three hundred rooms, every one of which is substantially furnished.

The site for the hospital was well chosen. It stands on one of the highest of the series of hills on the north side of the Kansas river. It fronts on Vermont street, facing the north, and covers almost an entire block between Seventh and Eighth streets. The location is healthful and affords a magnificent view of the surrounding country. With its three stories reared majestically above the neighboring houses, it is easily distinguishable from a great distance. From any one of its myriad windows a varied and interesting panorama is seen.

St. Margaret's represents the very latest ideas in hospital arrangements. The large wards, with a score of beds in the same room, are not seen there. The largest room in the old building holds no more than ten, while in the new portion two beds to the rooms is the rule.

In the operating department the equipment is complete and up to date. One room is devoted exclusively to the steam appliances used in sterilizing the cloths and towels ready for the service of the surgeon. Another is the etherizing room, where the patient is placed on a wheeled couch and given the anaesthetic without having the mind disturbed by a view of the operating table. The couch is wheeled into the operating room, where everything is conveniently at the hands of the surgeons.

There are no religious or sectarian restrictions on the patients or their friends, and Protestant ministers have the same privilege of ministering the last consolation to the dying as Catholic. The Elks' lodge furnished and maintains one of the large rooms and other rooms are similarly maintained by individuals and church societies.

In the first year 545 patients were treated at the hospital; last year the number was 2,400.

The medical and surgical staff, headed by Dr. George M. Gray, includes some of the best known and most successful members of the profession in the city. Provision is soon to be made for the isolation of consumptives and the establishment of a separate pavilion for infectious diseases. The work of the physicians is entirely gratuitous and the tireless devotion of the Sisters can only be appreciated through a knowledge of the work they do.


New Bethany Hospital.

Bethany, one of the largest hospitals in the central west and the first public Protestant hospital to be established between the Mississippi river and the Pacific coast, was organized in March, 1892, by Dr. P. D. Hughes, Mrs. Reba S. Freeman, Mrs. V. J. Lane, K. P. Snyder, Dr. Hoyt and others. Dr. Hughes, for four years prior to that time, endeavored to interest the people in the matter of a Protestant hospital. Winfield Freeman and K. P. Snyder, attorneys, arranged a constitution and bylaws and applied for a charter from the state, which was granted March 8, 1892.

The management of the new institution was offered to any of the Protestant church organizations which would furnish the necessary nurses. The Chicago Training School for Deaconess Nurses, through Mrs. Lucy Rider Meyer, who had been urging the extension of the Deaconess work in this section, furnished the nurses required, after certain changes were made in the constitution making Bethany a Deaconess hospital. Bishop W. X. Ninde of the M. E. church, residing in Topeka, was then asked to endorse the movement on behalf of the church organization. In consultation with Doctor Hughes the Bishop suggested the name Bethany Hospital, which was adopted by the Board of Directors.

Thus came into existence on May 16, 1892, Bethany Hospital. The General Conference of the M. E. church met in Omaha during that month and Mrs. Mayer came from Omaha to Kansas City and spoke at the dedication of Bethany Hospital. In March, 1893, the Kansas Conference adopted Bethany Hospital as the institution of that body, and in 1908 the other three Kansas conferences, the St. Louis and the West German, followed its example. It was then the first Protestant hospital between St. Louis and the Pacific coast and between Omaha and the Gulf of Mexico.

The call for the opening of the work in Kansas City was not accompanied by money, land or houses. Neither were any monied individuals sent that the workers might feel that they had material backing. Along the way friends have been raised up where least expected, efficient workers have been sent, and, through their united efforts, wonderful progress has been made. While the institution now affords only limited accommodations and is not able to do as large a work as the times demand, yet those in control strive to have it of the very best quality.

While this hospital is organized under the provision of the Methodist Episcopal church, and while the burdens are largely borne by the members of this denomination, there is absolutely no discrimination in the distribution of its benefits. Without regard to color, nationality, creed or condition in life, patients are received into the hospital and given all the attention that the skill of its physicians and surgeons can supply, or its trained nurses suggest. Some years Bethany Hospital has done as high as seventy-five per cent of gratuitous work and has never fallen below thirty-three and one-third per cent, though there is no endowment fund. Friends have always supplied the needs to carry on the work.

The hospital was conducted in a large building on Washington avenue between Third and Fourth streets until the buildings at Orchard street and Tenney avenue were erected and properly furnished. These buildings, while offering every convenience for the work, are too small to meet the requirements, but in a few months it is expected that the new hospital building will have been erected.

The new Bethany Hospital is to be one of the largest and best equipped institutions of its kind in the United States, and for its erection and equipment a fund of $200,000 is being raised in the five conferences supporting it. It is located in a beautiful park between Eleventh and Twelfth streets north of Central avenue, the highest point in Kansas City, Kansas. It is to be made fire-proof. The foundation has been laid and all is now (July, 1911) ready for the erection of the great structure.


The Eleanor Taylor Bell Memorial Hospital of the University of Kansas, in Rosedale, was built in 1906, as a result of the benefactions of Dr. Simeon B. Bell, Rosedale's oldest and wealthiest citizen, and as a memorial to the companion of his pioneer years in Kansas.

Dr. Bell's desire to help ambitious young men to the commonwealth to a medical education prompted him to make an offer to the state of Kansas of lands for a hospital and medical school. Years passed and finally, during the winter session of the legislature of 1904, the offer was accepted and about $80,000 worth of property was deeded to the state by Doctor Bell.

The Eleanor Bell Memorial Hospital building was completed in 1906 and was made ready to accommodate patients. The furnishings and appliances are strictly modern. While not so large, it has the best equipment of any hospital in Kansas City. It is the only hospital which has hydrotherapeutic equipment for the treatment of disease. It is a beautiful building and the site is very suitable for the work.

A large laboratory building for the School of Medicine of the University of Kansas was afterwards completed and equipped with the latest appliances and materials. The institution has since treated many patients and its work has been a great aid to medical and surgical science.

It is the ambition of Dr. Frank Strong, chancellor of the University of Kansas, to build up here the greatest medical school in the United States. An appropriation of $50,000 made by the legislature of 1909 is now being used in the erection of another large building for a chemical hospital. This is to be followed by further improvements until the school and hospital is complete.


In compliance with a demand for a hospital for colored persons Douglass Hospital was founded twelve years ago and it has proved a great boon to that race. It is located in the building on Washington avenue that formerly was occupied by Bethany Hospital. Many of the leading physicians of the city assist the colored members of the staff when their services are needed. It is well managed by its officers and a board of directors, and is generously supported.

In addition to private hospitals, there are several sanitariums in Wyandotte county for the special treatment of cases coming from many states. Most important of these are the Grandview and the Bonner Springs sanitariums. Both are large, well equipped institutions, and have been conducted for several years.

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