Posts Tagged ‘Dragerton Utah’

Clarence Mayhew – early Kaiser Permanente architect

posted on May 31, 2016

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

Part one of two parts – Walnut Creek, Dragerton, and Fontana

 

 “Hospital design is sort of a hobby of mine.”
—Sidney Garfield, MD, New York Times Magazine, April 28, 1974.

Sidney Garfield and architect Clarence Mahew, looking at drawing of planned Panorama City hospital, 1965 [circa]

Dr. Sidney Garfield and architect Clarence Mayhew looking at illustration of planned Panorama City hospital, circa 1965

Although Kaiser Permanente’s founding physician certainly had a passion for hospital design, and often served as a consultant, professionals were hired when it came to actually bringing these complex structures into being. One of the organization’s most significant architects was Clarence William Whitehead Mayhew (1906-1994).

Mayhew’s career began in 1922 as a draftsman at the San Francisco firm of Arthur Brown, Jr.. He traveled abroad to study at Paris’ Ecole des Beaux-Arts between 1922 and 1925, and returned to the Francisco Bay Area, where he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley School of Architecture in 1927.

He remained in the Bay Area began a long and distinguished career. Mayhew designed homes, including two in scenic Big Sur and Los Angeles for Lucille and David Packard (co-founder of the multinational information technology company Hewlett-Packard). Among his institutional commissions were the Aurelia Henry Reinhardt Alumnae House at Mills College (Oakland, Calif.), the Alumni House at U.C. Berkeley, and a racetrack in Lima, Peru.

But it was his design of early Permanente Foundation hospitals that is the foundation of his legacy.

Planning for Health newsletter  1952-10

Sketch of future Walnut Creek Medical Center, Planning for Health newsletter October, 1952

Mayhew’s first Permanente hospital was the 76-bed Walnut Creek Medical Center, which opened in April, 1953, one year after the flagship Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles hospital. Dr. Garfield was listed as “functional designer and medical consultant.” It, and the subsequent Kaiser Permanente Fontana Hospital, were part of a “small city” hospital movement; the larger and more urban Kaiser Permanente hospitals in San Francisco and Los Angeles were called “dream hospitals.”

Walnut Creek, along with Los Angeles and San Francisco (opened August 1953), were considered marvels of hospital design. Kaiser Permanente’s member newsletter Planning for Health of October 1952 gushed about its charms:

"Today's Most Talked About Hospital..." article on Kaiser Walnut Creek hospital, Architectural Forum, 1954-07. [Also source tiff files saved separately] [TPMG P1288]

“Today’s Most Talked About Hospital…” detail from article on Kaiser Walnut Creek Medical Center, Architectural Forum, July, 1954.

Many unusual innovations have been incorporated to make the hospital outstanding in the service it will render. The usual central corridor has been converted into a private corridor for nurse, doctor and employees, with a nurse’s station located for approximately each eight beds. This keeps the public away from the service area and bring the nurse, supplies and equipment in close proximity to the patient for more efficient care. Visitors reach the rooms via an outer corridor. Each patient enjoys a private or semiprivate room enclosed on one side with glass, affording the patient a pleasant view of landscaped grounds and trees.

Another progressive feature is the maternity wing. Here the central nursery has been eliminated and replaced with an individual nursery behind the bed-wall. At any time the mother, or visitors, can view the baby through a glass window beside the bed while the baby is actually attended by the nurse. Whenever the mother wants her baby beside her, she need only pull out the bassinet and her baby is there.

Even more impressively, the hospital was featured in an eight-page article in the July 1954 issue of Architectural Forum. It was titled “Today’s Most Talked-About Hospital…for four good reasons,” which it articulated:

1: Its architecture is part of the cure
2: Its corridors are actually long workrooms
3: Its bedrooms are designed for patient self-help, and
4: Its economics make it self-supporting at low rates.

Although many of those functional features were Dr. Garfield’s ideas, the aesthetics of the design were credited to Mayhew: “Note the easygoing grace with which Architect Mayhew has imbued a necessarily machinelike plan.”

Immediately on the heels of Walnut Creek were two smaller facilities built in 1954, one at a remote World War II Kaiser Steel coal mining location in Dragerton, Utah, and the other as a civic expansion of the hospital in the city of Fontana, Calif., where Henry J, Kaiser’s wartime steel mill was located.

Detail from blueprint for alterations and additions to Dragerton, Utah hospital, lot bounded by Center Street, Third Street, and Whitmore Drive. Original hospital built 1952. 1953-02-25. [TPMG P2640]

Detail, 1953 alterations and additions to Dragerton, Utah hospital, (Center Street, Third Street, and Whitmore Drive.)

The War Production Board had built a hospital at Dragerton (now called East Carbon City), which was later purchased by a physician who soon afterwards was charged with medical and fiscal mismanagement. United States Steel asked Henry J. Kaiser to take over the hospital in early 1952. Miners were desperate for proper care, and the team of Permanente physicians – which included shipyard doctor Wallace “Wally” Cook – was swamped. Mayhew designed a simple hospital, for which Dr. Garfield was listed as “consultant.”

Although a Permanente health plan was never established in the region, the hospital remained as Utah Permanente Hospital until 1966. However, this commitment to serving working people would eventually re-emerge as a plea for expansion from stakeholders in Colorado, which Kaiser Permanente began to do in 1969.

Architectural drawing, Fontana Kaiser Foundation Hospital, 9961 Sierra Ave., completed 1954. Clarence Mayhew, architect. Plans 1953 [circa]. [TPMG P1479]

Architectural drawing, Fontana Kaiser Foundation Hospital, 9961 Sierra Ave., completed 1954. Clarence Mayhew, architect.

In Fontana, a wartime hospital existed on the steel mill site, but once the Permanente Health Plan was opened to the public after the war it made more sense to locate a hospital in town. At first Dr. Garfield considered simply expanding the hospital at the steel plant, but in late 1953 Kaiser Steel Corporation Vice-president and General Manager Jack L. Ashby wrote to Dr. Garfield and told him:

I am advised that last month alone some 9,000 to 10,000 people visited the existing clinic now at the steel plant. The overcrowded condition is constantly a problem… In our opinion, not to build the clinic in the City of Fontana would be like building a beautiful automobile without an engine.

The San Bernardino County Sun published an article August 19, 1954, announcing a three-day open house:

The Kaiser Foundation’s newest “hospital of the future,” bringing to the Fontana area the last word in comfort and efficiency for patients and the hospital staff, will be introduced to the public next week.

The new medical facilities, initially containing 42 beds, are located on a 15-acre site at 9961 Sierra Ave., corner of Marygold Ave. They will complement the existing 88-bed Foundation hospital at the nearby steel mill of Kaiser Steel Corp., which donated $300,000 to help finance the new structure. The hospital, in the center of the expanding Fontana-Bloomington-Rialto-Etiwanda area of 60,000 population, is a community hospital open to the general public and to all qualified physicians and their patients, as well as Kaiser Foundation Health Plan members.

The one-story, “T” shaped building, of steel construction and utilizing vast amounts of glass, is the second of the Foundation’s concept of the ideal “small city” hospital.

Three hospitals in two years – that’s a pretty remarkable pace. But Mayhew was just getting started.

 

Next: More California hospitals 1955-1973: Harbor City, Panorama City, and San Rafael.

 

Short link to this article: http://k-p.li/1WXvpSN

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The genesis of Kaiser Permanente Colorado

posted on September 18, 2013

by Bryan Culp, Director

The seed planted in Dragerton, Utah, would eventually grow into a tree in Colorado.

1952 Utah Permanente Hospital, Dragerton, UtahIn 1942 a 35-bed hospital was built and operated under the auspices of the War Production Board in Dragerton, Utah, about 150 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. The small hospital in Carbon County provided care for miners who were extracting coal for wartime steel production.

At the end of the war, a local physician purchased the Dragerton hospital as war surplus and contracted with the United Mine Workers to provide medical services. Unfortunately, the care was not to the miners’ satisfaction. Complaints grew. The physician’s billing practices were suspect, and he refused to refer major surgeries to Salt Lake City though he himself had no training in surgery.

The situation became so bad that in the winter of 1952 the miners went on strike to force reforms at the hospital. William Dorsey, MD, the regional director for the United Mine Workers Welfare and Retirement Fund in Denver, represented the interests of the UMW.

To break the impasse, U.S. Steel, the major mining operator in the area, appealed to Henry J. Kaiser – Kaiser Steel operated mines in Carbon County – with the request for the Permanente Foundation to buy out the physician. Kaiser agreed and the articles of incorporation of the Utah Permanente Hospital were signed on February 26, 1952.

Dragerton, Utah Permanente hospital opening, 1954-06-24; news clippingsA refurbished hospital and a long-standing partnership with Kaiser Rehabilitation Hospital in Vallejo, Calif., to provide rehabilitation medicine to injured miners restored good relations with the UMW and in the greater mining community.

The health care program would exist in that Utah microcosm until 1966, when the Foundation sold the hospital.

Now the story comes back to Dr. Dorsey, who had made numerous overtures, to Kaiser Permanente’s leaders, starting in 1952, to establish the health care program in the Rocky Mountain region. He was convinced that after the success at Dragerton, Kaiser Permanente was the right health plan for UMW members in the Denver and Rocky Mountain areas.

 

In 1967 Dorsey presented to CEO Clifford Keene and the Kaiser Permanente Committee a University of Colorado study indicating that there was a strong market for a prepaid group practice in Denver.

1950 coal miner occupational therapy rehab KP Vallejo
Mine worker patient at KP Vallejo Rehabilitation hospital using laptop loom for occupational therapy.

After a year of study, a plan to expand to Colorado won the approval of the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan Board of Trustees. The Region began operations in Denver on July 1, 1969.

Today Kaiser Permanente Colorado serves 540,000 members in three large service areas – the Denver/Boulder area; in Southern Colorado stretching from Colorado Springs to Pueblo; and in Northern Colorado, the Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley areas. The region boasts over a thousand Colorado Permanente Physicians and 6000 employees serving in 26 – soon to be 28 – medical offices.

So it was, in the words of Dr. John Smillie, a physician with The Permanente Medical Group in Northern California, “the seed planted in Dragerton, Utah, would eventually grow into a tree in Colorado.”

 

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