Built as a residence for the Meiers, this stone building remained a dwelling until 1917, when Margaret Stoeffels Thurner converted it into Sauk City’s first hospital. Before the twentieth century, residents of small towns typically remained at home when sick, under the care of female family members and, perhaps, a doctor. For surgical procedures, a doctor attended to patients in his office or referred them to big-city hospitals. The twentieth century’s first decades saw the establishment of small private hospitals. In Sauk City, Thurner, a widow, decided to open a hospital and earn her living by nursing the sick. She converted the house into a ten-bed facility, which she operated under a doctor’s supervision. The vernacular side-gabled building needed few alterations to serve its new purpose. With tall narrow windows and an off-center entrance embellished by a broken pediment, the facility appeared functional yet home-like. Thurner made several improvements, including a full-length veranda (originally screened), supported by sturdy square posts, hot and cold running water, a kitchen and bathroom, and an oil-burning furnace. Thurner ran the hospital until 1932, when her daughter and a registered nurse assumed responsibility, but the hospital failed during the Great Depression.
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Miller and Associates (Thurner Hospital, John and Catherine Meier House)
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