At a public meeting on Thursday, January 28, the St. John’s Medical Center Board of Trustees issued a Centennial Proclamation recognizing St. John’s Episcopal Church, Jackson, WY, for its significant role in the history of the hospital.
The Proclamation was pronounced by board secretary Elizabeth Masek, on behalf of board chair Michael Tennican and St. John’s Medical Center. St. John’s Episcopal Church Interim Rector Ron Pogue was in attendance at the meeting to accept this honor on behalf of the Church. Also attending on behalf of the church were Jan Henderson, senior warden; and Frank Johnson, St. John’s Episcopal Church Rector from 1981 to 2000, whose comprehensive recording of the early history of St. John’s Hospital was included in his book, “A History of the Episcopal Church in Jackson Hole.”
St. John’s Episcopal Church, demonstrating great leadership and resolve, built Jackson Hole’s first hospital in 1916. The Church was responsible for operating St. John’s Hospital for more than four decades, until a community board was formed to oversee the growing health care needs of the region.
“Throughout our centennial year, we want to take every opportunity to thank the individuals and organizations that have helped St. John’s become a modern medical center of a caliber seldom found in a rural, remote town such as ours,” said SJMC communications officer Karen Connelly. “It seems fitting to start at the beginning, with the incredible story of the perseverance and generosity of early Church leaders and the community.”
In 1916 Reverend Royal Balcom, who was the Episcopal Minister at that time, was talking to two other men in one of the local bars. Reverend Balcom suggested, “Why don’t we build Dr. Huff a hospital?”
This was the first time it had been thought about. This was on a Friday and they took it to some of the frequenters of the bars and one man gave two or three lots, at the present location of the Episcopal Church. On Monday they started cutting logs up Cache Creek for the building of this hospital. That was a three day period from the onset to the start. Today it would take two or three years.
– As told by Dr. Donald MacLeod