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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.