The Baptist Church oversaw hospital administration in Cordova in 1955 and built a new hospital. They ran the hospital until the city took it over in 1971. Photo courtesy of the Cordova Historical Society

This week, we are leaving the Red Dragon Historic District and wandering further up the hill past the Ilanka Health Center and Cordova Electric Cooperative. This building was one of Cordova’s hospitals where many a Cordovan walking the streets today took their first breath of life!

As the community grew in the late 1940s and early 50s, a growing population only increased the need for medical facilities in the community. After the Baptists took over hospital administration for the community, they decided a newer facility would serve the needs of the growing town. The land next to the Baptist Church on Second Street was purchased. Total cost of the new hospital was $468,834.28. In 1955, the new hospital was ready for service to the community.

Operating the hospital was more than the Baptists could handle; in 1971 the city took on management and five years later, the municipality was also struggling to keep the hospital afloat. By 1982, a new hospital plan recommended the most cost-effective solution was to build a new facility on a larger, better-located site. With state funding, the city completed construction and on May 31, 1986, the Cordova Community Hospital opened.

Next week in our Second Street history we will find out where the previous hospital lived on this very same street!

As the City of Cordova begins preparations for the revamping of Second Street, the folks at the museum have been assisting the State Office of History and Preservation as well as the Alaska Department of Transportation in researching the historic areas of Second Street. Over the next few months, the Museum will share some of the stories of those buildings we see every day and their unique history.

These photos are from the collection of the Cordova Historical Society. Much of the information for this article was gleaned from the book: From Fish and Copper Cordova’s Heritage and Buildings by Nicki Nielsen.