the history of Ivinson
Ivinson Memorial Hospital has had quite a history, but prior to its establishment, health care in Albany County was pioneered by various entities including the Union Pacific Railroad and the United States military. Homes of physicians and nurses were even sites of small medical facilities during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
Gertrude Gould, a former Ivinson Memorial Hospital board member, wrote a book called “History of Health and Hospitals in Albany County, Wyoming”, which traced steps of various health care institutions that eventually led to Ivinson Memorial Hospital’s establishment in 1917.
Gould’s historical account begins in 1868 when the first known hospital was created at Fort Sanders. Surviving 16 years, Fort Sanders’ hospital was primarily meant for military personnel and was abandoned in 1882 when the fort shut down.
Another hospital, initiated by the Union Pacific Railroad, was located on the west side of Laramie near what is now Fremont Street and operated during the same time period as Fort Sanders. This hospital is estimated to have closed in 1871 as railroad construction continued westward.
A marked evolutionary change in health care occurred in 1883 when the Catholic Sisters of Charity came from Cheyenne determined to build a hospital in Laramie. Successful in their endeavor, St. Joseph’s hospital was erected through tireless fundraising and an appropriation from the Territorial Legislature. The Albany County Commissioners paid the hospital for services provided to patients unable to pay. However, financial hardships finally led to St. Joseph’s demise in 1895. Prior to being torn down, the University of Wyoming used this building under the name of Talbott Hall.
During the early 1890’s, the Albany County Commissioners started providing health care to the poor and indigent with the development of a “poor farm” that eventually evolved into the County Hospital. Primarily serving paupers, County Hospital stayed in commission until 1950 when Ivinson Memorial Hospital took over control. It was completely closed in 1965 when its services were no longer necessary.
Following the downfall of St. Joseph’s, several hospitals surfaced throughout Laramie in different homes of physicians and nurses. The McCormack Hospital, which was located at 465 N. Fifth, is one of the homes still standing today. Other home hospitals included the Lawrence Hospital where City Hall currently stands; the Northrup Hospital in a home still located at 619 S. Fifth Street; the Hortonstein Hospital at 407 S. Fifth Street; and the Grand Avenue Hospital at 603 Grand.
Ivinson Memorial Hospital was constructed in 1917 and was first located at 10th and Ivinson Avenue (at the time this road was known as Thornburgh), which is currently home to the University of Wyoming Police Department. Realizing the need for expansion, citizens of Laramie voted in 1968 to develop a hospital district to aid in funding construction for a new building for Ivinson Memorial Hospital. The hospital’s new building was completed in 1973 at its current location of 255 North 30th Street.
Over the past 45 years, Ivinson Memorial Hospital has improved the care it provides Laramie residents exponentially. Expansions to the the 30th street facility have included the construction of the Meredith and Jeannie Ray Cancer Center, as well as the addition of a medical office building for outpatient services and visiting providers.
In 2014, IMH celebrated the completion of one of the largest capital projects in the history of the hospital. An expansion (which took less than two years to complete) added 30 new patient rooms, a new 9-chair dialysis unit, 3 state-of-the-art operating rooms, and an updated lobby and cafeteria.
A short while thereafter, the decision was made to re-imagine the existing medical office building at IMH. By 2017, the new Medical Offices at Ivinson were officially opened to the public. The building features 35 examination rooms, 3 procedural rooms and a new parking garage that adds 52 additional parking spaces to our campus. This expansion makes it possible for all Ivinson Medical Group providers and visiting providers to practice in one central location.
The opening of the new medical office building coincided with the addition of several new pieces of technology to the hospital, as well as the Hospital’s 100th birthday celebration. Technology added to the hospital included a new 64-slice CT machine, a 3D mammography machine, and the addition of the new DaVinci Surgical robot.