Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 22, 2018

Story wall tells health center’s history

Covering more than 100 feet and 100 years
By Vicki Tillis, Ledger lifestyles editor | Mar 08, 2018
Source: PHOTO COURTESY OF WANDA BAGBY The history wall at the Jefferson County Health Center was installed last week in the main hallway between the cafeteria and med surg.

Visitors to Jefferson County Health Center during the last few days will have noticed something new: a story wall celebrating the organization’s 106 years of history.

The story wall, titled “Over 100 years of caring for the community” covers a 110-foot long section of the main hallway — between the cafeteria and med surg.

“We had this very long hall, with the windows on this side looking out on a fantastic view,” said community relations manager Wanda Bagby, waving her hand toward the facility’s courtyard and a view of the neighboring historic Maasdam Barns. “But on the other side, there wasn’t a lot of color, so we thought it was a good place to tell our story.”

The story starts with a “title page” next to the cafeteria, then continues down the hall to the west, with “chapters” highlighted with photos and facts, such as the opening 1912 chapter with a photo of the original Jefferson County Hospital and facts about Dr. J. Fred Clarke leading the building effort, construction costs and daily room charges.

“Joneane Parker was a vital part in gathering this information,” said Bagby.

Parker had a nearly 44-year career at Jefferson County Hospital, moving into the administration side as the vice president of clinical services, before retiring in December 2015. She became a member of the Jefferson County Health Center Board of Trustees a month later.

“Over the years, Parker has been the ‘JCHC historian,’” continued Bagby. “She found it very important to preserve documents, pictures and artifacts that help tell JCHC’s history.”

While the book published in 2012 to commemorate the hospital’s 100th anniversary was a big help to designing the story wall, Bagby said Parker still spent hours at The Fairfield Ledger and the Fairfield Public Library looking for just the right photos to use.

And sometimes those photos would just fall into the designers’ hands.

“We couldn’t find a color picture of the original 1912 hospital,” said Bagby. “Then [Carnegie Historical Museum curator] Mark Shafer called and said he had a bunch of postcards with pictures of the hospital — including just the one we wanted.”

Bagby said the story wall project took 14 months to complete.

The first draft had so much information, it would have needed twice as much wall space, and had to be edited down, she said. Plus, the color scheme was changed a couple of times.

The story is printed on the heaviest-possible textured vinyl. Bagby compared it to contact paper because the back of each panel peels away so that it can be stuck to the wall.

“There are only four people in Iowa who install this,” she continued, “and we had the best two here.”

Jeff Newsome and Ted James of Speed Pro Imaging were at the health center the morning of March 1 for the installation.

Bagby said when the two were putting the panels on the wall, the panels could be lifted back off, adjusted for just the right fit and smoothed down. She said the longer the panels are in place, the stronger the bond will become. She pointed out the vinyl is “forgiving” if it is bumped or scratched, plus it is fade resistant and touchable.

“What a great way for everyone who walks this hall to be able to see the pictures and read the timeline,” said Bagby. “An organization’s history is its legacy — its link to the past and a bridge to the present and the future. This wall is a tribute to the men and women who have served this health center for the past 100 years.

“The cliché is that a picture speaks a thousand words,” she continued. “I hope this wall speaks volumes about JCHC endeavors, challenges and its great accomplishments over the years.”

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