Entrepreneurs and Innovators - Part 3
On now until February 2, the Galt Museum and Archives presents an exhibit celebrating southwestern Alberta businesses, inventors and researchers. Entrepreneurs and Innovators features photos from the Galt Archives's holdings, and can be seen in the lower gallery, outside the archives. This blog post is the third in a series based on the exhibit.
This week's post features two Lethbridgians who identified deficiencies in medical and emergency services and worked to address these problems to improve services for others in the community. Marie Elizabeth van Haarlem was a Lethbridge nurse who grew her small maternity practice into a fully complemented private hospital with thirty beds. Scottish-born William Hardy reorganized the Lethbridge Fire Department into one of the first integrated fire and ambulance services on the continent.
Van Haarlem Private Hospital
Lethbridge nurse Marie Elizabeth Van Haarlem opened a maternity hospital in 1910 and took over the operation of the former Wimpole Hospital at 7th avenue and 12th street in 1914. The Van Haarlem Private Hospital operated first as a maternity hospital and then as a general hospital. A wing was added during the 1918-1919 influenza epidemic. Over the next decade the Van Haarlem Hospital added a laboratory, x-ray room, and grew to thirty beds. Van Haarlem sold her hospital to the Sisters of St. Martha and it was renamed St. Michael’s Hospital. Over 2000 babies were delivered at the Van Haarlem Hospital during its time of operation. Van Haarlem continued her medical career as a public health nurse.
William Hardy arrived in Lethbridge in 1909 and soon began working in the fire department. With firefighting experience gained in Belfast, Hardy quickly rose through the ranks and was appointed Fire Chief in 1911. Following a public outcry over slow ambulance service the city passed the responsibility for ambulance services from the Galt Hospital to the Fire Department in 1912. Hardy was effective in the development of the first integrated Fire and Ambulance service in North America. By 1913 all department members held St. John’s Ambulance certificates, and by 1919 the department was completely motorized, greatly improving response times. Hardy’s effective leadership was recognized when the Lethbridge Fire Department received the top award for first aid of all Canadian Fire Departments in 1920. Hardy remained Fire Chief until his death in 1935.
By Sven Andreassen
Sven Andreassen is a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia's Master of Archival Studies program. He has been volunteering in the Galt Archives since the summer and curated this exhibit.