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In the late autumn of 1858, gold was discovered where the South Platte River meets Cherry Creek, and Denver, Colorado, was born. It would take just a single generation for the tiny settlement to become the most populous city in the West, second only to San Francisco. Few factors contributed more to its growth than the railroad system built by enterprising Denverites.
To care for its workers, the Union Pacific Railroad constructed a 66-bed hospital at 40th and York Streets in 1883. Nestled in a park, the three-story building was considered well equipped and up-to-date. But Denver lacked the nurses and administrators so critical to comforting, quality care.
Railroad leaders called on the Most Rev. Joseph P. Machebeuf, Colorado's first bishop. He, in turn, asked the Sisters at Lafayette, Indiana, for help. In 1884, seven nuns arrived from the newly formed American branch of the Poor Sisters of Saint Francis Seraph of Perpetual Adoration. As the Motherhouse for the Order was in Germany, the hospital staff spoke German at its inception. The Sisters worked with heartfelt concern for their patients, but Sister Mary Huberta believed the Order needed its own hospital.
She broached the idea with Bishop Matz, Bishop Machebeuf's successor, in 1890. When he cautioned that her notion would prove expensive and difficult, she offered an immediate reply: "We will begin, and St. Anthony will help us." Thus began the nuns' campaign to build the hospital, each faithful that the "wonder worker" of saints would assist. St. Anthony, after all, is revered for restoring confidence to the frightened and despairing.
Faith rewarded by providence
The Sisters proved fearless fundraisers, proceeding directly to the rough-and-tumble mining camps. There they stood outside saloons and barbershops, wielding tin cups and wangling one-dollar donations from railroad workers as they collected wages. Dollars turned to dreams on the shores of Sloan Lake, now West 16th Avenue and Raleigh Street. In May 1892, the hospital opened with 120 ward beds, 60 private beds, and a name faithful to its patron. That vision of caring is now well into its second century. Countless highlights have occurred along the way, among them:
Now, a state-of-the art medical campus in Lakewood including St. Anthony Hospital
bring with them 119 years of compassion and caring to an innovative new medical campus. At the new St. Anthony Hospital we will continue to provide the highest level of shock-trauma, neurosciences, cardiology, oncology and orthopedic services and a care giving staff of more than 1700 associates and 222 exceptionally equipped private patient rooms, will assure each patient receives optimal care.
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