The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Deb Olson, The Quill
The La Harpe Davier Hospital was founded with a generous bequest from area resident Mary Davier. Born in 1850 in St. Etienne, France, Davier came to America in 1859 with her parents who first settled in Nauvoo but then moved to La Harpe. After Mr. Davier's death his wife and children Antoine and Mary lived in La Harpe but eventually purchased land near Disco.
After Miss Davier death on July 21, 1910, it was revealed that she had left a bequest of $30,000 to the city of La Harpe for building a hospital. Although some relatives contested the will, eventually, after the 12 year court battle the city received a $23,000 settlement that helped make the hospital a reality.
The Mary Davier Hospital was dedicated on November 26, 1923. In addition to Davier's bequest, local citizens and organizations provided monetary donations and labor which helped in the completion of the hospital.
The first birth at the hospital came on November 30, 1923, twin boys born to Mr. and Mrs. Willard Kern. In addition to the obstetrics staff, there was also a surgical staff. Early nursing staff consisted of Miss Arnold and Miss Shepherd. In April of 1925, thanks to an anonymous benefactor, the hospital got its first x-ray machine.
In 1951 a Women's Auxiliary was formed. This group helped by canning food, mending linens and drapes and helping raise money for equipment for the hospital.
By the mid-1960's however stricter state and federal regulations for all medical facilities brought the need to modernize or to close the facility. On December 1, 1966 the obstetrical department was closed. Modernization efforts in 1967 added a new wing to the hospital.
In 1974, a new extended care facility was planned. It was hoped this would bring increased medical services to the hospital. A fund drive brought pledges of $415,000. In addition, a loan from the Farm and Home Administration helped with the new construction. The original building was demolished. New plans called for "15 medical beds in the remodeled north wing, 49 long term care beds in the new south and west wings" with administrative offices and food service where the original building had stood.
According to an article in the Quill, the January 22, 1978 open house for the new facility which was planned by the hospital board and the local Lions Club brought over a thousand people "to tour the whole facility and meet the staff, ask questions and to enjoy refreshments."
In 1982, due to rising operating costs, a management contract was signed with Burlington Medical Center which resulted in "many cost savings for the facility."
Since 2007, La Harpe Davier Health Care has been a part of the Petersen Health Care Family. Over the past several years, the La Harpe Davier facility has served as a training facility for new administrators. It also, in cooperation with Carl Sandburg College provides clinical training for the college's Licensed Practical Nursing and Certified Nursing Assistant programs.
Today, La Harpe Davier continues to act on a "resident-care based philosophy" that makes it one of the Midwest's leading long term care providers.
For information or to contact La Harpe Davier call 217-659-3222.