In 1903, Lewistown welcomed a group of nuns from France, members of the Order of the Daughters of Jesus. This location would turn out to be their only house in the United States. In a short time, Sister Philomene saw that the twenty-four-year-old town needed a hospital, and she began soliciting funds. Within three years, the foundation was laid for St. Joseph’s Hospital, which opened in October 1908 with the Daughters of Jesus serving as nurses under Mother Philomene, Superior. The original building and three additional units all were constructed by the Croatian stonemasons who had begun emigrating to Lewistown in 1898 from the town BriBir and who are responsible for many buildings throughout the city. All Catholics, the stonemasons each donated one day’s labor per week to the hospital’s construction. Between 1913 and 1935, four sandstone wings were added, including a maternity ward and a chapel. The nursing school building, of brick rather than sandstone, arose in 1936. St. Joseph’s Hospital served approximately 5,500 patients annually until 1977, when a new central Montana hospital was built.

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US-87, Lewistown, Montana ~ Private