Monday, December 28, 2009

Dec 28: Dr. Charles Gritman

On December 28, 1862, Charles L. Gritman, M.D. was born in Springfield, Illinois. He graduated from the Cincinnati Medical College in 1890, then practiced in that city until moving to Washington state in 1892. The following year Gritman opened a practice in Moscow, Idaho. There, the Illustrated History said, “he rapidly acquired a large and lucrative patronage.”

In 1897, he and a partner bought a large building on the corner of Main and Seventh Street and converted it into Latah County’s first hospital. The facility, then known as the Moscow Hospital, was “fitted up with all modern appliances and conveniences for the care of the sick.” (Building converted to Gritman's hospital. Latah County Historical Society photo.)

Having made his commitment to the area, Gritman settled down to provide quality, forward-thinking medical care. He and his wife Bertie also became social leaders  in the area. (Probably not coincidentally, his brother Fred ran a livery stable in Lewiston in 1902 after 20 years of stock raising in Washington.)

Eventually the hospital became the Gritman Hospital and is today the not-for-profit Gritman Medical Center. Quoting from their web site we learn: “After Dr. Gritman's death in 1933, a group of community leaders formed the Moscow Hospital Association and purchased the hospital from Gritman's widow. With funds raised from the community, the Hospital Association set forth to build a new hospital. By 1944 a modernized, three story brick hospital was opened. Though remodeled throughout the years, the original building is still in use today.”

(Photo: Gritman Medical Center.)

A history of the institution is available from the Gritman Medical Center Foundation: Elizabeth Winegar Molina, Dr. Gritman’s Hospital, from Horse and Buggy to Helipad.

An Illustrated History of the State of Idaho, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago (1899).

An Illustrated History of North Idaho, Western Historical Publishing Co. (1903).

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