50 years ago marked the beginning of a new era for our area with the construction of the first District Hospital in the state of Missouri. It all began in 1958 with a small handful of dedicated people with the hopes and determination of having a hospital and all of the healthcare benefits that come with it, available to the people in their small rural communities and surrounding areas. With their hopes, others joined, and a movement began to find a way to make this dream become a reality. Those dedicated to this project formed the Hospital Association. They began their research and work in how to go about getting their rural hospital built. They talked with their legislatures, requesting that the Attorney General’s office investigate the possibility of building a hospital and creating a hospital district. Between 1960 and 1961 the House Bill #433 was created, permitting the formation of hospital districts within the state of Missouri. It was introduced by Ben Ridder, the Gasconade County Representative at that time, to the 71st General Assembly where it was voted into law, and made official with the signature of Governor John M. Dalton. This House Bill #433 was referred to as the Hospital District Law. Those in the Hospital Association were elated.
Now that the groundwork was laid, the next steps were vital in getting the project to come to fruition. Great financial resources were needed in not only the building of the hospital, but of the needed medical equipment necessary to treat patients and the vital medical staff and other employees to make the hospital come to life. Therefore, financial resources were the end all for this dream to come true. The Hospital Association led by their passion to provide their community the opportunity of a hospital, and in turn better healthcare and life saving healthcare services, hit the pavement on what became a very special day in February in 1963 in which they went door to door asking for pledges and donations in support of the hospital project. Their efforts in raising funds was of incredible success. That one day of knocking on the doors resulted in over $180,000 collected for the Hospital. What they learned is that others cared as much as they did, and were on board to help in whatever ways they could. The overflowing support was remarkable! This day was referred to as “Hospital Sunday” and was talked about by many for years to come.
In 1963, the first Board of Directors took hold. Progress in this huge endeavor of a project was on the move. What happened next was a massive step forward in October of 1963 with the Bond Issue of $375,000 for the hospital project. The results were in and voters let their wishes be known with a 79.8% vote in favor of the Bond. People all around were overjoyed with the news. The hospital would officially become a reality. The site for the hospital was chosen on 7.25 acres of land on top a beautiful hillside in Hermann, which would later become known as Hospital Hill.
On December 5th in 1965 the Groundbreaking Ceremony took place with an estimated 300 in attendance. The principal speaker of the afternoon, Lieutenant Governor Thomas F. Eagleton stated, in relation to the construction of the hospital and the drive to enact the Hospital District Law, “This is an example of what can be done by local communities in solving their own problems and will serve as a beacon light for all the state to see.”
Just seventeen months later, the new Hermann Area District Hospital held its Hospital Dedication Ceremony with more than 4,000 people in attendance. These festivities took place from June 9 - 11 in 1967. Addressing the crowd on that Saturday afternoon was Congressman William Hungate:
“For many of you here today, this hospital is the culmination of many months and years of difficult work. You are entitled to great pride in your accomplishment. Yet the job has only begun. This hospital will soon become so much a part of this community that many will take its existence for granted. Don’t let this happen. Your hospital is a special place.”
Thus the legacy of Hermann Area District Hospital began.
50 years have gone by since the opening of Hermann Hospital. Changes have been made and additional services and renovations have taken place, including the attainment of four rural health clinics, two in Hermann, one in Owensville, and another in Montgomery City. Also, in 2001, the expansion of the hospital district took place to include southern Montgomery and Warren counties. Major renovations took place beginning back in 2007 at the hospital with an overall facility upgrade, resulting in its state-of-the art building, ensuring the hospital remains up to date and current to provide the best possible care for its patients. Renovations were finalized in 2009. Hermann Hospital offers a variety of healthcare services, including major and minor surgeries, an Emergency Department onsite, a full Clinical Laboratory, Radiology Department, Rehabilitation Department with Physical, Occupational, Speech, and Cardiac Therapies, a Home Health Agency that reaches from the Montgomery City area, Hermann, and Owensville areas, inpatient Acute Care with doctors on staff 24/7, along with Skilled Care services for patients, a unique option for many who would rather receive their Skilled Care at a hospital versus a nursing home (often referred to as Swing Bed).
Hermann Hospital has weathered many storms through the past 50 plus years, yet with its dedication to its community members and their healthcare needs, Hermann Hospital remains dedicated in providing quality healthcare to its patients from all corners of its hospital district and beyond.