Gove County Medical Center History


GCMC was founded in 1925 by the Brethren Church as the Quinter Hospital and Sanatorium. From its early start as a two-story building with two bedrooms for patients, doctor's office, exam, operating and sterilizing rooms on the first floor and kitchen, laundry, storage and X-ray room in the basement. Many changes have occurred since then. In 1946 the county of Gove took ownership of the hospital and changed the name to Gove County Hospital. The Long Term Care Facility was built in 1963. Several additions and remodeling projects have happened since 1963. A third name change occurred in 1994 when Gove County Hospital became Gove County Medical Center.

Back in 1923 when the editor of The Advocate was carried to the train on a stretcher through a storm to be taken to a hospital I Hays there wasn't any hospital in Quinter. Like most small towns without a hospital, it was necessary to travel to one in case of illness. Convalescing in the hospital from an attack of rheumatism, the editor, A. A. Keiser thought it would be a wonderful idea to have a small hospital at home where sick folks could be near relatives and friends.

On returning home, the idea continued to remain with him, and before long Dr. J.H. Rinehart, a surgeon, physician practicing in Quinter, began discussing plans with him for such an institution. Before long, other citizens had taken to the idea and a public drive opened.

In 1925, construction was started on the old hospital and completed in 1926 at a cost of $20,000.00. When first erected, it was placed under the supervision of the Church of the Brethren of Quinter. It was like most hospitals, organized as a non-profit organization and in order to secure corporation papers, it was necessary to place the name of some organization as its sponsor. It was, at that time, and since, a community project, with aim, that of taking care of the folks requiring hospitalization. The hospital was called the Quinter Hospital and Sanitarium.

In addition to the regular board members as required by its charter, two associate members took part in its operation. In most instances the members of the associate board were selected from the other churches of the Quinter community.

The hospital was operated entirely by finances received from the charges made to patients and by contributions. At times the going was tough, and the struggles of the board to pay expenses incurred in its operation and upkeep were enough to cause plenty of headaches. Many times the hospital was forced to close due to insufficient finances. At the height of the "dust storm" period back in 1937, the hospital was closed for a period of months.

While closed the hospital was refinished on the interior by the donations of money and labor. It was during this time that the hospital board decided to offer it to the county. The hospital at the time had a mortgage of $3,000 and about $100 in interest against it, but no other bills. At an election held on November 8th, 1938, the voters of the county voted 1112 against accepting the hospital to 835 yes.

The hospital board had endeavored to secure a doctor to take over and operate the hospital after the election but gave up the idea. Later, Miss Hester Hart, R.N. was hired as superintendent and Mrs. Louise B Popp as business manager, both of Dodge City. The hospital was re-opened on December 10th, 1938. Mrs. Hart stayed only for a short time, Mrs. Popp assumed the entire management and operated the hospital until the spring of 1942.

Misses Mary Schwarzenberger and Miss Selma Enstrom took over the operation and operated it until 1946. After they left the hospital, it was again closed for remodeling and redecorating. The $3,000 mortgage was paid off when a drive was made and B.F. Oxley who held the mortgage donated $700. Backed by community leaders, the hospital board entered into a drive to raise funds to remodel the hospital and install much needed modern equipment. This was one of the most thorough and well conducted drives held in Quinter and ended with $40,000.00 being raised.

About this time, the drive was completed and plans made for work to be done, the proposition of offering the hospital to the county was once more brought up. On April 8th, 1947 at a special election, the voters decided to accept the hospital. The old hospital, the entire half block and the $40,000.00 raised by the drive, were turned over to the county following legal procedure and called Gove County Hospital. Shortly after, on June 4th, 1950 the new hospital was dedicated and the old hospital was shut down.