Moab History: Legacy of Care – The Grand County Hospital 

Moab’s medical history is defined by dedicated caregivers both inside and outside hospital walls. From doctors making house calls on horseback to nurses hosting supply drives during pandemics, the Moab community has been adapting to rural healthcare challenges for over a century. 

The Moab Museum is proud to exhibit a new satellite exhibition at the Moab Regional Hospital, answering the question “what is a community’s health worth?” Look back to previous issues of the Moab Sun News for our article “Before A Hospital.”

Grand County Hospital [1950s].

Grand County Hospital

In January 1919, Moab was plagued by the Spanish Influenza, impacting more than half of the population. Telegrams were sent to the Secretary of State requesting more physicians to support Doc Williams and an increasing patient load. Dr. C.M. Clark and a nurse, Maude Eno, arrived and worked with Williams in and out of homes, the courthouse, and the high school gymnasium, which were utilized as treatment centers. 

The need for more than one doctor inspired conversations about establishing a hospital. In October 1919, the Grand County Hospital was incorporated for $5,000 in a house on Center Street, near today’s Canyonlands Best Western Motel. Doc Williams unofficially retired shortly thereafter while Dr. Clark and Maude Eno stayed to outfit the new hospital. 

Grand Valley Times September 5, 1919.

In May of 1920, a surgeon in the United States Army, I. W. (Isaac Walter) Allen, relocated to Moab and served as the main doctor for the next thirty years. In response to the pandemic, Dr. Allen hosted inoculation clinics around the region for various diseases and introduced new technology to the hospital whenever possible. While it was common for doctors to come and go for employment and resources elsewhere, Dr. Allen remained in Moab to see his community through challenging times. 

Moab overcame many health crises thanks to the Grand County Hospital, an impressive feat considering the limited facilities available. At the time, doctors and nurses were still reusing medical instruments, boiling them between uses on a coal-wood range! Read more about the Grand County Hospital from the nurses that worked there on our website at moabmuseum.org/exhibition/legacy-of-care.

Join us in welcoming a new exhibition to the community this spring at Moab Regional Hospital. The Museum displays Moab’s Legacy of Care in the hallway connecting Moab Regional Hospital to Canyonlands Care Center.


The Moab Museum is dedicated to sharing stories of the natural and human history of the Moab area. To explore more of Moab’s stories and artifacts, find out about upcoming programs, and become a Member, visit www.moabmuseum.org.

This article was originally published in the Moab Sun News Moab History Column, written weekly by Moab Museum staff.