High Desert Memories - A Hometown Journal Commemorating Ridgecrest California
40's and 50's
Page 4
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The Drummond hospital ca 1948 on the left and in 1955 on the right.  By that time Dr. Drummond had his airstrip installed. I managed to spend a three day stint in here during my senior year in High School to have my appendix removed. 
The two photos here are essentially the same area shown from the South (top) and the North (left)  This is China Lake Blvd just before the Y by the gate to NOTS. Below is a shot of this same area circa 1952.
The "Y" where China Lake Blvd and the Inyokern highway meet.  The photo on the left is ca 1947 and the view on the right is in the late 60's.  You can readily see the build up of the shopping areas west of the "Y" in the newer photo.
This is the old rodeo/fairgrounds of the 40's.  It was located right off the Inyokern Highway by the Y.
The Triangle Sports Shop of the 50's is shown here.  It was located on the land where the triangle was made by the Y and China Lake Blvd.  It isn't there anymore.
  Donated by Terry Kokosenki
Eva's Snack Shack later known as the El Corral Cafe. Then it became Mei Wahs Chinese Restaurant.
Tom's Desert Service
If nothing else is apparent in the progression of time certainly, change makes it obvious.. 
Kens Liquor was next to Desert Motors at the Y of Inyokern Hwy and China Lake Blvd.  Another business is there now.
  I remember the lil burger stand next to the Triangle Sport Shop {ie. Chandler's Sporting Goods} from many years ago. Probably before there was a Foster's Freeze and almost everything else that was/is on China Lake Blvd... I remember walking with my older sisters {Sandi + Donna} and my mother from Wherry Housing up Ridgecrest Blvd., {eating the dust} to the VFW Hall accross from the R/C park for a Christmas Party in December 1955. Hazelton's, The Chicken Coop, The Victory Market, and the Courthouse & Jail were about the only thing on R/C Blvd. Except for the RX Drug Store & Gas Station on the corner where the B of A is now. I can't remember if Beene's Jewelry and a couple of other small places {accross the street from the victory} were already there or not. But, there was still the Ice House and the lil church up on the corner of R/C Blvd. and Norma

Bill Martin (1968)
RRH celebrates deep roots in our valley
News Review Staff Writer

This month marks a major milestone for a vital community asset. Forty years ago Dr. Thomas A. Drummond sold Ridgecrest Hospital to the community for the token sum of one dollar.
It’s that transaction and the formation of the nonprofit Ridgecrest Community Hospital that is being celebrated as a 40-year milestone.
The hospital’s roots go back to the 1933 day when Dr. Drummond arrived in the Rand Mining District as a young medical school graduate of the University of Southern California.
Times were rough even for well-trained young M.D.s. The nation was in the midst of its greatest depression, and doctors were crowding themselves in — three or four to an office — to keep expenses down.
Deciding to leave Los Angeles in search of a more promising place to practice medicine, Dr. Drummond got in his car and began driving north. “My car ran out of gas in Red Mountain and that’s where I stayed,” he said later.
For the hard-living inhabitants of the Rand District, the young doctor performed surgery, pulled teeth or fitted glasses — whatever needed to be done, including weekly checkups for the ladies of the evening in Red
Mountain’s “red-light district.”
He rapidly became a mainstay at the Red Mountain Hospital, sometimes flying into Inyokern and sleeping on a sofa while he awaited the birth of a newborn.
Then in 1944, the Red Mountain facility burned down. That was shortly after the Navy came to the Indian Wells Valley and turned our community into a boomtown. Dr. Drummond began making more and more frequent airplane trips to our valley.
In 1945 Dr. Drummond constructed a small building to house his offices and equipment. Next door to his first office, he began building a two-story hospital (now the administrative building located between Drummond Medical Clinic and Ridgecrest Regional Hospital).
He, his wife Edith and their children moved in upstairs, while downstairs he ran a 20-bed hospital.
Dr. Georg W. Daiber, who began work there in 1954, remembered that a bus dropped him off at China Lake’s main gate. He began walking south on China Lake Boulevard — then a dirt road. “Finally a man stopped his car to offer me a ride,” Dr. Daiber recalled in 1988. “He asked where I was going and I said to the hospital. He said, ‘Well, you already passed it.’”
The facility wasn’t very imposing in those days, but it grew rapidly. In 1957 a physician-clinic building known as Drummond Medical Center was built adjoining the hospital.
As the Drummond business interests expanded, the hospital’s namesake began to discover an urge to simplify his life. He and several other doctors formed a business partnership, and the Drummond Medical Group became separate from the hospital.
When Dr. Drummond gave the hospital to the community, his partners also donated their shares. Decades in the making, Ridgecrest Community Hospital was born.
Nine members sat on the hospital’s first board of directors, among them local attorney Burke West, whose service extended back to 1953 and would continue through his retirement from the board in 1977.
RCH expanded over the years — a new wing in 1968, an intensive-care unit in 1976 and further construction in 1987. The hospital acquired and upgraded equipment ranging from a CT scanner to fetal monitors.
The hospital also established a licensed vocational nursing training curriculum in partnership with Cerro Coso Community College, pioneered the first home health care program in Kern County and established Sage Community Health Center to bring primary care to a greater cross-section of area residents.
Key volunteer groups included the Pink Ladies, founded by Jan Hoagland in 1958, and the Ridgecrest Community Hospital Foundation, established in 1983 with Daryl Silberberg as president.
Today the Pink Ladies raise more than $20,000 annually through their gift shop and donate much-needed equipment to the hospital. The hospital foundation raises funds through its Tree of Life, which has raised more than half a million dollars to date.
Over the past decade or so, the hospital’s services and staffing have expanded at an accelerated pace. During the 1990s, the hospital’s medical staff more than doubled — from 14 doctors living in the community to 30.
Even the name evolved to reflect an expanded scope of responsibilities. Ridgecrest Community Hospital became Ridgecrest Regional Hospital in 1997.
Today the doctors, nurses and other staff members of RRH take pride in a commitment to provide the community with family practice, cardiology, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, orthopedics, pathology, pediatrics, radiology , opthalmology, gastro-enterology, surgery, urology and emergency medicine, along with a wide range of outpatient and diagnostic services.
Looking toward a bright future, RRH has engaged the Stichler Group, Inc., of San Diego to investigate possible growth alternatives. The group has prepared a master plan for expansion — including a dining area, an medical/surgical tower and a relocated
Emergency Room with a private entrance.
If the hospital board and the necessary government agencies approve the plan, it will be realized in four stages over about five years.
“The architects have generated a huge amount of energy here,” said David A. Mechtenberg, who in December will complete his 21st year as RRH CEO. “It was like opening a good bottle of champagne.”
“We have, and I believe uniquely so, a great CEO, an extremely committed staff, amazing volunteers and a Board of Directors who are active and proactive, work hard and get the job done,” said Bill Webster, president of the RRH board.
The cleaners and the trailer court which were on N. China Lake Blvd. in the 40's & 50's. 
A brief history of the Ridgecrest Community Hospital
  Dr. DrummondI  did alot of wonderful things for the community. He amputated A mans leg in A snow bank in Randsburg where he started his first practice. He and Edith once rode horses into the Sierras to help A very sick man.

   He hired A Black gentleman as A janitor at the hospital and let him stay at the hospital until he loaned him the money to start his barbequed ribs place next to the old Pappalardos. He did very well and my mother said that his ribs were great.

   Dr. Drummond had A unique sense of humor and was always pulling jokes on the staff. One story I remember well was the time he was walking down the hall when A man approached him and said he'd been overcharged on his bill . When asked what he was going to do about it, he looked at the bill, tore it up and said that now that he didn't owe anything and walked back upstairs, where he and his family lived. There are many more stories about the man who did so much for our community. Before those who knew him are gone, it would be nice to here more about him and his wife Edith. I knew his son Tommy and still know some of the old timers. I'll try to get some more stories about him at the next nurses reunion. Thanks for taking the time to read this...

Randy Reid 1969

    I would really like to see some stories about Thomas Drummond. I have heard some amazing stories about him from those who knew him.  Randy Reid

Okay Randy your wish is my command.  I will set this area up to receive stories as they come in.  Those of you out there who have some memories about this man please submit them. 
   You may not remember me, but I was one of those people you bagged at K & R so many years ago. You probably remember my Mom , Edith Drummond, because I was a freshman , my sister Bonnie was a Jr ( she married Frank Brady one of your classmates I think) when you were a Sr. My name is Teri Cahill ( Drummond)

    My Mom just passed this last October and there was a whole folder on the hospital development, but I do not know what happened to it. My daughter or my brother , Tom who by the way lives in Ridgecrest  may have it. He may be able to give you some information about who would have all that old history from someone in the hospital now. It is a far cry from that orginal building on which I lived most of my youth in the apartment on top.There are a few of the old nurses from my youth still there that may help.

Some little bit of information that may interest you about my Dad, Dr. Drummond..
Shortly after  he started his practice in  Randsburg of all places, the Navy came and asked him to come to Ridgecrest for all the civil employees health care and they would build him a building with a well to get started. This was not the hospital in the old picture you showed . It was a small building, I do not know exactly how big, but it was where he had to try to service  all the community of non government people. It was later turned into the building used  as the "Wash House" where all the linens, towels, and such were washed  from the hospital. They also brought in 3 pre-fab houses for people to live in. I remember the day they built them and I was really little. The foundations had been set and these huge trucks came in with these slabs of concreet and before the day was over, there were 3 buildings  one of which we lived for a while  when the renovating the apartment over the hospital so that we could move UPSTAIRS. The other two building did not have kitchens for they were converted to bedrooms for the nurses and staff to live in. After we moved, the house was used for a few doctors and their families while they to  were looking  or building housing..  Tha landing strip was orginially a  large dirt road. My Dad had a friend who was also a doctor from med school and they would fly together for their vacations. Louie and Dorothy Petrus got tired of landing in Inyokern, because Mr. Davis's field in Ridgecrest was too short, they flew modified P-49's, so Dad created the landing strip which was also used later to fly injured people from all over to and from his hospital. He even took my Mom via airplane from there in 1951 to Los Angeles to a hand specialist because she had cut her arm severly by going through a window in my brothers room in the middle of the night. He was very inventive wouldn' t you say.

Teri Drummond Cahill
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