PHOTO: St.Joseph's Hospital, about 1915, from a post card.

Built in 1882 by the NPR Co., in the then city of West Brainerd. Formerly this wooden structure was used as the NP's Colonization Headquarters Building, sometimes called Immigration Hall.
[I believe this is one in the same structure also referred to on many advertising pieces I have seen, labeled "N.P. Sanitarium". For some reason I can find no reference to this term in anything on a written page. It must have been considered quite a marvel at the time, as of all the souvenir items I have come across, this is the photo most often used. (?)]
Torn down in Sept., 1921, the staff and equipment being sent to St. Paul. This building was just SW and adjacent to its nurses' headquarters, which still stands as the present PORT facility, just west of the river across the RR bridge, north side of the tracks. I believe this facility once had its own water tower, based on a photo of the general area taken from the other side of the river at some distance. I have found some of the paneled interior doors from this demolition, still with the door numbers on them. They are being used, and have been since the demolition, as walls for a small barn, now a storage shed.

Photo: ca. 18905, from MHS files:

Northern Pacific Railroad Hospital (1883) Brainerd, Minnesota

The Brainerd Hospital consists of two buildings. The two-and-half-story, wood-frame

hospital building (37 x 120 feet) was very much like the sophisticated work McKim, Mead

& White was doing in the East and has the appearance of a resort hotel. Large, sweeping

porches, decorative shingle work, towers, and a roof that does not project beyond the

shingle-covered exterior walls of the upper floors are elements of the style McKim, Mead &

White referred to as "Modern Colonial." Seventy-five years after its inception, Vincent

Scully, Jr. coined the term "Shingle style" to describe the informal design of such woodframed,

shingle-covered buildings.1 Unlike most of McKim, Mead & White's Shingle-style

designs, the Brainerd Hospital has a hip roof and window shutters. The hospital cost

$11,500. The smaller, two-story Ward Building, a bare-bones design, cost $4,800. The

plumbing contract was separate and cost $6000 for both buildings.2

The hospital facility itself was moved from Brainerd to St. Paul in 1922, and in 1937, the

building was converted to residential use. It has since been razed. All that remains on the

site are two nurses quarters designed in 1901 by Gilbert's local competitor Reed & Stem.

Image: Crow Wing County Historical Society

1. White, The Houses of McKim, Mead& White, 14.

2. McKim, Mead & White to General Haupt, June 5,1883, Box: 13, Fldr.: 89, CGP, MHS.



Northwestern Hospital, timeline:

-1908: Organized by Dr. Jos. Nicholson and erected on N 8th & Kingwood Sts., formed by stock subscription.

-1920, Aug. 7: Hospital is enlarged.

-1922, Oct. 15: Enlarged. The private Northwestern Hospital is taken over by Northwestern Medical & Surgical Assn., which added this second addition.

-1924, Aug.: NWS goes in to receivership. Subsequently, the “hospital building” was converted into an apartment building named Kingwood Apts.

-1962: Bethany Good Samaritan Society builds a new facility on the location of the original hospital and a half block north.

-1966: Bethany builds a new facility in south Brainerd.

The above SHORT timeline leaves lots of unanswered questions. Very little information is to be found in the known written articles and books on this hospital.

---Was the tower built as an extension of the hospital, or replace it; and was it the first or second enlargement? I second, what was the first?

---When was the tower built?

---Did Bethany raze or move the original building?

---Was the tower then used as a nursing home when the new one was built in 1962?

---Did Bethany operate both facilities for a while after 1966?

2009, Aug.:

-Greti Hill mentions that Joe Gustafson rented an apartment in the old part of the building. This might tell us that the original building was also used as apartments as well as the tower building.

-A post card made by “A. M. Simon, New York, Made in Germany, 12435” has this interesting notation on the back of the colorized photo of the hospital (picture does not include the Northwestern Hospital sign over the front porch, so may be an earlier post card): “Dr Nicholson Bot the Walter Davis Property and finished it for a hospital”. This may answer the question whether the building was built as a hospital, indicating that rather it was a home remodeled in to a hospital later. The 1903 Brainerd City Directory lists Davis, Walter (Davis Music House), res 306 N Broadway [later called 8th] (Martha P) [spouse]. It also lists Davis Music House (Walter and M P Davis) 714 Front St.

ST. JOSEPH'S: See photo above.