The corner of Jefferson and Mount Olive in Siloam Springs has seen many changes in recent years. Recently, the City of Siloam began constructing a new park which will stretch from Jefferson Street down to Sager Creek. This park will be on the same grounds as the Siloam Springs Public Library, which only recently opened in 2016. Many, however, remember this corner as the site of Siloam Springs Memorial Hospital. This week’s featured photo shows the Siloam Springs Memorial Hospital under construction in 1950.
Prior to the late 1940’s, there were two small hospitals in Siloam Springs: the John Brown University Hospital and the City Hospital. In the late 1940’s, John Brown University Hospital closed, leaving only the ten bed City Hospital which resided in the same building as the city hall, jail, library, police station, and fire station. This small space did not have enough room to service all of Siloam Springs. Thus, in 1948, J. E. Trahin began a fund for a new hospital.
The City of Siloam contributed $7,500 to the hospital construction project, and the rest of the money was to be raised through other means. In all, the hospital was built in 1950 for $190,000. When it was finished, the hospital contained 33 beds. On December 19, 1950, nine patients were moved from City Hospital to the newly finished Siloam Springs Memorial Hospital.
Soon, the needs of Siloam Springs outgrew Memorial Hospital, and the building was expanded in 1961. The process was repeated many times between 1950 and 2012, as Siloam Springs continued to grow. Finally, in 2012, Siloam Springs opened a new hospital on Progress Avenue. The new hospital cost $40 million and is designed to service a population of up to 50,000 people. Siloam Springs Memorial Hospital was torn down soon after the opening of the new hospital, and in its place the town built a state of the art library which opened its doors in 2016.
Be sure to check out the Siloam Springs Museum’s display at the Siloam Springs Public Library during the month of August!
Written by Chuck McClary
Hico, a Heritage: Siloam Springs History by Maggie Smith
Images of America: Siloam Springs by Don Warden
Siloam Springs Museum
Siloam Springs Museum Archives