Most Viewed Stories
A wall of memories: Barstow writes goodbye to old hospital
BARSTOW • If walls could speak, the ones bearing up the old hospital would tell the story of a community. Within these walls infants took their first breaths of life. Within these walls the departed breathed their last.
But one wall in particular bears the scribbled memories of the city’s cornerstone to be laid to rest after more than half a century in Barstow.
Nurses, doctors, staff and community members have been leaving their mark on a wall along a hallway near the elevators. On it, some shared their fondest memories: births, health and life. Some shared excitement for the new hospital to open Oct. 13. Others remembered those who have passed.
“Let’s not forget our moms, dads, brothers, sisters, family and friends who we leave behind and who will always be in our memory,” read one note, unattributed. “Thank you BCH...”
The wall also displays the names of doctors who died before ever seeing the new hospital open its doors — many whose hard work contributed to the fruition of the project.
For decades doctors anticipated the new hospital said employee Eileen Tucker. Preserving their memory and honoring their dream of the new hospital is an important aspect of the memory wall, she said.
BCH Nurse Kristen Nicole Soutar left a note proudly displaying she and her three children were born in this hospital. In December she will have worked for the hospital 21 years, with some time off for school.
“I feel it helps with the memories; helps you to recall the things you might not have had at the forefront of your mind,” Soutar said.
To her, and other staff, saying goodbye to the old building feels like a death in the family.
“Honestly, I kind of hope they get rid of it... tear it down,” Soutar said. “I don’t want to see it sit here abandoned or used for Desert Manna or anything.”
For many with such intimate connections to the old building, leaving for a new structure is bittersweet.
“I call this the origins hospital and the new hospital the destination hospital,” Soutar said.
BCH spokesperson John Rader said the hospital plans to memorialize the wall with photographs, but the wall itself belongs to the city of Barstow. What they do with it is up to them, he said.
BCH employee Diann Jackson said she was amazed to see the wall where many left their mark on what she feels has been a long run.
“So many have given their service to Barstow Community Hospital for many, many years and have seen the hospital built and the new one open its doors just as well,” Jackson said. “How awesome is it to have been part of such a fantastic piece of history.”
Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4123 or email@example.com