Looking Back: A history of Mount Shasta's hospitals

Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta Herald

In February of 1976, Mount Shasta was celebrating the impending opening of a new state of the art hospital building on Pine Street. 

Eskaton Mount Shasta Healthcare Center – now Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta – looks a bit different today, especially with the recent 3,000 square foot Emergency Room expansion and various other additions and improvements over the past 45 years.

The Pine Street hospital replaced the original Mount Shasta Hospital on Eugene Avenue, which opened in 1941 and was later transformed into an assisted living home before closing altogether. As of 2021, the Eugene Ave. building has been empty for more than a decade.

An advertisement in the February 18, 1976 Dunsmuir News invites the public to the dedication of the Eskaton Mt. Shasta Healthcare Center. Now Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta, the building has been improved and expanded over the past 45 years but still serves as one of Siskiyou County's two hospitals.

From our archives

The following article is from the February 18, 1976 Mount Shasta Herald.

The new $3,264,551 Eskaton Mount Shasta Healthcare Center building will be dedicated Sunday afternoon at 1:30. The new plant, two years in construction, is at 914 Pine Street. It will replace the present building at 203 Eugene Avenue, which was opened in 1941. The new building will have 33 beds, as compared to 25 beds in the old structure plus greatly enlarged outpatient facilities and emergency care facilities. Ten acres of the land the new hospital is on was donated by the Richard Kingston family. Additional land was purchased by Eskaton.

Cost of the new building was $3,264,551. Of this, $675,183 came from a federal grant, $1,682,000 was a Health, Education and Welfare subsidized loan, and the Eskaton Corporation advanced $287,292. There was an added $80,000 cost because of the payment of existing equipment loans, so there is a total deficit of $718,076. The Mount Shasta Rotary Club last week made a $10,000 donation toward the deficit. Other local and corporation donations will be sought. A complex of medical offices is on the same site in front of the hospital building. Following the dedication Sunday afternoon, there will be conducted tours of the new plant.

It will not be opened for patient use immediately, since all the new equipment has not arrived and there are construction details to be completed.

The original Mount Shasta Hospital was opened in September, 1941 by Dr. Louis Lista, who had formed a local corporation to build it.

A floor plan of the Eskaton Mt. Shasta Healthcare Center, which was opened in late February 1976. This floor plan was printed in the Feb. 18, 1976 Dunsmuir News.

It was closed during World War II, then reopened December 15, 1949 by L. A. McMillan and John G. O’Toole.

The operated it until 1955, when it was sold to Dr. D. M. Lanham, who operated it for a year.

He sold it to a local group of doctors, W.F. Martin, W. B. Strickland, J.B. McGuire, V. J. Thompson, H.L. Vidricksen and D. D. Todorvic, who reopened it and operated it until it was sold to Eskaton in 1969. During this time, it was remodeled and expanded extensively.

This is one of four hospitals owned and operated by Eskaton. Others are in Carmichael, Colusa, and Monterey. They also manage Doctors Hospital of Oakland, and own and operate housing facilities at San Diego, Richmond, and Sacramento, and manage two others, both in Martinez. They also own and operate a long-term care center in Sacramento.

Many Eskaton officials are expected here for the ceremonies Sunday.

Skye Kinkade is the editor of the Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers and the Siskiyou Daily News. She is a fourth generation Siskiyou County resident and has lived in Mount Shasta and Weed her entire life.