White Mountain Hospital
Built during the Great Depression using resources found throughout the town and by the hands of its own citizens, this hospital which still stands today was created in order to provide services that the townsfolk couldn’t find anywhere else nearby. Worked on from 1933 to 1937, the facility had originally been planned to open in 1937. Issues with plumbing, a need for weather stripping, and no physician would mean that the building couldn't be completed. The then fifteen-bed facility was finally able to open its doors in 1939, however, when a doctor known as Dr. Orlando arrived and agreed to finish, lease, and run the hospital for 10 years. Today, one can still go to the hospital, which has been upgraded over time, and receive treatment just as the citizens in Round Valley did so long ago.
Backstory and Context
The town of Round Valley originally lacked any sort treatment center for those living nearby, and with the Great Depression currently ongoing even if many of the citizens could travel to another hospital, they likely wouldn’t be able to pay for it. The town eventually decided to do something about the issue and build their own facility, using the nearby lava rock and built by the hands of the citizens in the area. Construction for the project began in 1933 and was aimed at being completed in the year 1937. During 1937, however, issues with a lack of plumbing, no weather stripping, and no actual doctor able to perform the task, completion of the hospital was delayed. Two years later, however, motion picture star, Edward Arnold and his step son Dr. William F. Orlando decided to attempt to lease the building for 10 years. Upon doing so, the agreement would be that the facility would be completed, and any repairs needed would be made, as well as a $20 payment each month by Dr. Orlando who would also treat the poor in the area for free.
Originally possessing only one floor and fifteen beds, from 1959 to 1965 the citizens of Apache county and Carton county in New Mexico worked to raise funds to make the hospital more modern. At a cost of $531,000, half of this price would be paid by the citizens with the other half paid for by Federal Hill-Burton funds. Eventually a contract with the Good Samaritan Hospital would occur in 1972, and together 1.5 million dollars would go to an expansion of the hospital. Good Samaritan would open a long-term facility within the hospital in 1987. Due to what Samaritan would state as operational loses, however, they would separate in 1995.
When Good Samaritan left the hospital, a panic ignited throughout the town. Without Good Samaritan it would be seemingly impossible to keep the hospital open, leaving numerous citizens without the care that the facility provided. Holding an SOS campaign, or a Save our Services Campaign, the citizens would host bake sales, telethons, raffles, and anything else possible to fund the facility each month. In 1995 voters desired a district for the hospital to keep it funded, and in 1997 the hospital was officially named the White Mountain Regional Medical Center. Today the hospital still stands offering services still for those who need it and has a monument outside its doors in memory of the fight to keep the hospital alive. The monument was created by the Round Valley Positive Action Tourism Committee and the Springerville-Eagar Chamber of Commerce.
"HISTORY OF WHITE MOUNTAIN REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER." White Mountain Regional Medical Center. Accessed December 09, 2018. http://www.wmrmc.com/getpage.php?name=history&sub=About Us.
Kirchner, Bill. "White Mountain Hospital Historical Marker." Historical Marker. June 16, 2016. Accessed December 09, 2018. https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=36649.
"White Mountain Hospital - Springerville - AZ - US." Historical Marker Project. Accessed December 09, 2018. https://www.historicalmarkerproject.com/markers/HMOHN_white-mountain-hospital_Springerville-AZ.html.
"White Mountain Regional Med. Center." About the Arizona Center for Rural Health | Arizona Center for Rural Health. Accessed December 09, 2018. https://crh.arizona.edu/programs/flex/cahs-list/white-mountain.