On Thursday, September 24 the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Ketchikan’s Yates Memorial Hospital to the 2020 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Since 1988, this annual list has raised awareness about the threats facing some of the nation’s greatest treasures.
Yates Memorial Hospital has narrowly escaped demolition on many occasions and the building has been vacant for 15 years. The roof and foundations are failing and the interior has been severely damaged due to the lack of heating.
“The designation of Yates Memorial Hospital as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Places is a statement about the national importance of this site, and the value of rehabilitating the hospital to help us share Ketchikan’s story with visitors and residents alike,” said Stephen Reeve, executive director of Historic Ketchikan. “We are confident that the cruise ship industry, which is such a vital part of Ketchikan’s heritage tourism economy, will rebound. The Yates Memorial Hospital is ideally situated to provide an authentic and memorable experience for many of the estimated 1.4 million cruise ship visitors who come here in a normal year.”
This site was built in 1905 as a Clergy house and quickly repurposed as a hospital serving the vast region between Seattle, Washington and Juneau, Alaska, offering the only place to secure medical services during the frenzied boom years of Ketchikan’s growth. Many original features, including operating rooms, fireplace, stairway, siding and windows remain intact, and the building today looks much as it did in original photographs. Yates Memorial Hospital offers an opportunity to tell the story of the dedicated and determined women who worked tirelessly as nurses, under very difficult conditions, to care for the sick and injured.
For more information about the National Trust for Historic Preservation, go to: https://savingplaces.org/