The Colver Hospital


Colver Hospital in 2001
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The fact that Colver had a hospital distinguished the town and defined both the town and the coal company as a modern progressive community.  What is shown above is the Colver Clinic which was the hospital until about 1968.  Shortly after Doctor Martin retired, the hospital became a clinic which was staffed by Conemaugh Memorial Hospital.  The Clinic is now closed and Colver residents must seek health care outside of the village.
 
 


First Hospital
First Hospital
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The first hospital was two six room houses on first street across from the house designated as the Doctors' house. This served until the construction of a new mine headquarters on Reese Avenue.
 


Mine Office before becoming the hospital
Caption indicates that the date is 1914.

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It soon became apparent that the building first constructed as the mine office was inadequate, so a new mine office was constructed on Reese Avenue.  At that time the mine office was converted into the hospital.   The first doctor was Dr A.W. Beatty from 1911 to 1928 and then Dr. A. D. Martin from 1924 to 1965.   There were two wards, several private rooms, a nursery, and operating room.  The doctor's office was also part of the hospital.  The nurses quarters were on the second floor of the hospital.   When the hospital first opened there were 3 nurses, working 12 hour shifts, later when the shifts were reduced to 8 hours, there were 5 nurses.

The United Mine Workers bought the hospital in 1940 and operated it until closed by the state in 1974.   When the UMW bought the hospital the charge for each miner was $2.00 per month ($1.00 per pay) for the hospital and $1.50 ($0.75 per pay)for the "office" (the doctor). This was very much like today's HMO's.   This charge also provided medicines except for the more expensive prescription drugs.   Dr. Martin continued to fill in at the hospital off and on from 1965 until 1972 when he completely retired.
 


Doctor Martin

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Doctor Martin in his office at the Colver Hospital, December 1960. Doctor Martin was the community doctor from 1928 to 1965.  Doctor Martin was an Ontario, Canada citizen who came to Colver directly from his internship in Buffalo, NY.  He was very fluent in German and he was able to converse with many of the residents of Polish descent during their office visits.  His wife Evelyn, being a registered nurse, also worked with him in the hospital.  During this period he delivered just under 6,000 babies.

When a miner was injured or became incapacitated in the mine, he would go into the mine up to the coal face where the miner was and stabilize the miner so he could be evacuated from the mine.   In time the first aid teams became so good that he was able to meet the team at the bottom of the shaft.  The last time he actually had to go into the mine was in 1952 when Telford Hill was fatally injured.

Photos of the old hospital in 1914 and Doctor Martin are courtesy of Major Evalyn Martin, USAF (retired)
 
 

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