Early Everett wasn’t an easy place for the injured or ill.
Taming the wilderness of the late 1800s required often-dangerous labor. Logging, mining, fishing, railroad construction and other strenuous work produced a steady stream of gouges and gashes, breaks and burns, concussions and crushed and severed limbs, not to mention the occasional gunshot wound. Not infrequently liquor played a role.
Meanwhile, poor living conditions in worker camps served as incubators for smallpox, typhoid and diphtheria among the nearly 1,000 residents, mostly young men, then living in Everett
Many of the suffering lacked a family or stable home to help them recover. Care often meant a steamship ride to a hospital in more-established Puget Sound cities.
In 1892, prodded in part by the wives of prominent businessmen, and endorsed by the nascent chamber of commerce, the “culture-starved of Everett eagerly embraced” efforts to raise $5,000 to erect a three-story building that could accommodate 30 patients by the fall of 1893, according to a history by The Women’s Legacy Project of Snohomish County. “Events included plays, suppers, dances, concerts, bazaars, and picnics. A formal winter ball held in the empty building of Clark’s new department store officially kicked off fund-raising in January of 1893. Well-heeled socialites purchased $1.50 tickets per couple to dance and dine in style, and they raised $345. News articles described each woman’s elegant ball gown, the dinner menu served by the Hotel Monte Christo (sic) staff, and the decorations at Clark’s store. Other reports likened the event to bees swarming the cultural hive and they also exposed Everett’s intense rivalry with Seattle. Thirty Everett businessmen threatened to withdraw support for the hospital if the Lady Manager’s employed a Seattle band instead of local Everett musicians!”
Despite a nationwide financial panic that year that crippled Everett’s economy, the need for a hospital was great and civic leaders pushed forward with their plans. Workers laid the cornerstone of the building along the electric car line in the 3300 block of Broadway in August, 1893 and the building opened in January, 1894.
By 1904, faced with financial challenges, a growing city population and advances in medicine that required more up-to-date facilities, the hospital property was sold for $5,000 to the Lutheran Church for use as a high school and later as Bethania College, according to history assembled by Dave Larson in the Everett Public Library’s Northwest Room Collection.
The college continued until 1917. In 1918, the dormitories housed victims of the devastating worldwide flu epidemic. Later, the building served as apartments and an old folks home before being torn down for expansion of a retirement complex.