Solandt Hospital gets historical recognition |

Solandt Hospital gets historical recognition

— The historical building that has overlooked the town of Hayden for 80 years will stand for another 80 years thanks to the efforts of people who wanted to see it preserved.

The Solandt Memorial Hospital recently received local historic designation from the Routt County Historic Preservation Board.

“What it means is that no one can tear it down,” said Kathy Hockin, president of the Solandt Memorial Hospital Board. “It protects it forever.”

When the hospital opened in 1923, it was Northwest Colorado’s only certified and fully modern hospital.

Decades of service to the people of Hayden, however, now show on the hospital’s interior and exterior.

The hospital board financed the renovation of the roof in 1980, and a 1981 Energy Impact Grant paid for electrical repairs as well as upgrades to the building’s insulation, windows and heating system.

The most recent repair in 1998 involved the vulcanization of the roof to seal it from the elements.

But the Solandt Memorial Hospital still stands in need of further repair.

The historic designation should place the building in a better position to receive grants for improvements, Hockin said.

The Chinese elms that currently grace the hospital’s front lawn show signs of aging, she said.

“They’ve outlived their lifespan,” she said.

New landscaping would give the hospital some new life on the outside, Hockin said.

Judy Green and Joan Medvesk began preparing a history of the building in early January to submit to the Routt County Historic Preservation Board.

They looked through old newspaper articles and pored over minutes from fund-raisers and board meetings.

“It’s just a neat historic building,” Green said.

The hospital operated without assistance from taxpayers for 38 years, until the hospital board petitioned Routt County for the creation of a special district to help cover expenses.

Today, the Solandt Memorial Hospital District still imposes a 2 mill levy on people who live within the district.

“We’ve never wanted to raise taxes,” Hockin said.

The people of Hayden sought in 1919 to establish a hospital in memory of John V. Solandt, the town’s doctor from 1898 until his tragic death in 1916.

Solandt received the 2001 Larson Award for 18 years of faithful service to Hayden.

“It was a community effort to get this going,” Green said. “It has always taken a community effort to keep it going.”

The hospital was and still remains a significant landmark in the Yampa Valley, county commissioner Dan Ellison said.

“The hospital represents the will of the people to keep the facility going,” Ellison said. “It continues to serve the West Routt community.”

The Solandt Memorial Hospital stopped functioning as a hospital in 1967 when a doctor could not be found.

The board decided to begin leasing office space to medical professionals in 1970 and continues to do so today.

It was a tough decision, Green said, but one that had to be made.

Today, doctors from Steamboat Springs fill office hours throughout the week, as well as a dentist, mental health professionals and a masseuse.

The LIFT-UP office, community food bank and Northwest Legal Services also call the building home.

“The building is utilized for maximum use,” Hockin said.

Because the board cannot afford a major renovation of the historical building, it can only try to keep up with day-to-day maintenance.

“Our biggest goal is just to maintain,” she said.

The board has no plans yet to seek designation beyond the local level.

But people like Green and Hockin are happy the building has received some well-deserved recognition for its importance to the history of Hayden.

“It’s the landmark of this town,” Green said.

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