Filed Under Stevensville

Thornton Hospital

Amidst economic prosperity brought on by the local “apple boom,” Stevensville physician Dr. William Thornton established this surgical center, then the only such facility in the entire Bitterroot Valley. Completed in 1910, builder W. R. Rodgers used brick and cast concrete of his own manufacture to construct the splendid Classical Revival style building. Dormers, arched windows, Tuscan columns, and a wraparound two-story veranda (originally surrounded by a spindled railing) typify the simple, elegant style. Modern equipment included a pressure sterilizer and photo X-ray machine. The hospital engaged private nurses to care for the patients. Surgical procedures were preformed on the second floor, seventeen patients’ rooms were on the second and third floors, and the first floor housed Dr. Thornton’s office and family living quarters. In 1917, Dr. Thornton moved to Missoula where he continued to make lasting contributions to the quality of health care in Montana. New owner Dr. P. S. Rennick remodeled the hospital in 1928, enlarging the sun porch and altering the west dormers. The medical center continued under Dr. Rennick’s management until his death in 1939. The closure of this landmark medical facility illustrates the loss suffered by rural communities as small hospitals could no longer compete with urban centers in the age of specialized medicine.

Images

Thornton Hospital Thornton Hospital. Front to side view of the building, facing southeast on East 3rd Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Photographer unidentified Date: Dec. 1990
Thornton Hospital Thornton Hospital. Front to side view of the building, facing west to southeast near the intersection of East 3rd Street and Church Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Frank Houde Collection Date: Jan. 1989
Thornton Hospital Thornton Hospital. Front to side view of the building, facing south on East 3rd Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Frank Grant Date: Oct. 1988
Thornton Hospital Thornton Hospital. Rear to side view of the building, facing northwest on Church Street. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Frank Grant Date: Oct. 1988
Thornton Hospital, Stevensville, MT View of facade Creator: Joe Furshong, photographer Date: May 2021
Thornton Hospital, Stevensville, MT View of Church Street elevation Creator: Joe Furshong, photographer Date: May 2021
Thornton Hospital, Stevensville, MT View of front and side elevations Creator: Joe Furshong, photographer Date: May 2021

Location

107 East 3rd Street, Stevensville, Montana | Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Thornton Hospital,” Historic Montana, accessed November 28, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/1784.