Women in Health
This week’s Women’s History Month post is not about one particular woman, but a group of women who helped keep Bowman healthy and well-taken care of before the Tri-State Hospital was built, or even conceived.
Sometime in 1909, Bowman’s first hospital was built. It was opened by Doctors George and David Baker, but was taken over by Miss Callie Pruett when the doctors left town. Pruett operated this first hospital for several years.
In 1920, Mrs. Minnie Norem operated a maternity home out of her house, and in 1928 another hospital was opened on Main Street by Doctors Cornelius and Lemiuex, which was run by Martha Meyer. This hospital lasted only a year, and was closed in July 1929. In August of that year, another hospital was opened in the Lowden home, and Violet Kline was in charge. She operated it for about six months, then Helen Kaiser, a registered nurse from Miles City took over.’
Martha Meyer took over running another hospital in 1932, above the Bennett Drug Store. From 1933-1935, Martha Sather and Myrtle Heid (both registered nurses) operated a hospital out of the William Austin house. Following that (from 1936 and several years after), Bowman’s health was looked after by Mrs. Jake Messer, Mrs. Manning Newstrom, and Mrs. Gerald Padgett, who all take maternity cases into their own homes. In 1951, the Tri-State Hospital was opened, and the need for house hospitals disappeared. It should be noted, however, that the first operators of the Tri-State Hospital were The Benedictine Sisters, who ran the hospital for the first five years of its operation.
It’s easy to take for granted the women who worked so hard to keep residents of Bowman healthy for so many years, since they weren’t doctors. Nevertheless, their contribution to the area is significant and they should not be forgotten.
In honor of Women's History Month, each week of March we will feature a brief story on a woman (or women) in history with a connection to our local area. If you know of someone we should write about, or would like more information, call or stop by the museum and let us know!