Pioneers Memorial Hospital (Rocky Ford, Colorado, USA)

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During the early 1950s, the Rocky Ford, Colorado, community initiated efforts to build its own hospital. Fearing competition with the La Junta Mennonite Hospital some 11 miles to the east, Allen H. Erb, when asked about its operation, volunteered the services of the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities (Mennonite Church) because he believed that a cooperative program would be the best approach. As a result, the new Pioneer Memorial Hospital was dedicated in August 1954. Although community owned, the facility was leased to the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities for administration. An unusual "compromise" for Erb and other Mennonites occurred when a Buddhist group funded construction of the hospital chapel that the Mennonites would not only use for worship services for several years but also for organization of a new Rocky Ford Mennonite Church which was formally established on 1 January 1961 with 30 charter members. Erb and Victor Esch served as administrators of the hospital facility from 1954-1958 and 1958-1966, respectively. In 1963 plans were developed to build a 30-bed nursing home adjacent to the hospital which would also be community-owned but operated by the Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities. Soon after the hospital opened, a Voluntary Service (VS) unit was established in Rocky Ford and remained in operation until September 1968. During subsequent years administration of the hospital was transferred from the Mennonites to the community.


Esch, Victor H. "Pioneers Nursing Home." The Echo, August 1963, p. 5.

Unrau, Harlan D. In Pursuit of Land, Health and Mission: A History of Mennonites in the Mountain States Region. Printed in Canada by Blitzprint, Inc., 2007.

Additional Information

Original Article from Mennonite Encyclopedia

Vol. 4, p. 182 by J. Herbert Fretz

Pioneers Memorial Hospital, Rocky Ford, Colorado, though owned by the community, was admin­istered after 1954 by the Mennonite Board of Mis­sions and Charities (Mennonite Church). In the late 1950s it had a capacity of 31 beds and 9 bassinets.

Author(s) Harlan D Unrau
Date Published October 2011

Cite This Article

MLA style

Unrau, Harlan D. "Pioneers Memorial Hospital (Rocky Ford, Colorado, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2011. Web. 12 Aug 2020.,_Colorado,_USA)&oldid=83987.

APA style

Unrau, Harlan D. (October 2011). Pioneers Memorial Hospital (Rocky Ford, Colorado, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 12 August 2020, from,_Colorado,_USA)&oldid=83987.

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