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Colby hospital building added to Register

Special to The Hays Daily News

TOPEKA -- The Kansas Historical Society announced the newest National Register of Historic Places listings, which include two former hospital buildings, an early 20th century photography studio, a public school complex, a former railroad depot and a Jewish cemetery. They were entered into the National Register on Jan. 2. In other action, two properties were removed from the National Register. That brings the total Kansas listings to 1,291.

The National Register of Historic Places is the country's official list of historically significant properties. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

Properties can be eligible if they are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history. They can be eligible if they are associated with the lives of persons significant to the past.

In northwest Kansas, St. Thomas Hospital in Colby was added to the list.

The hospital was constructed in 1941 through the Works Progress Administration, a federal program that funded the construction of 130 new hospitals nationwide and improvements to 1,670 more. There were only two new hospitals in Kansas constructed with WPA funds, one in Colby and the other in Oswego. The three-story Colby hospital was designed by Kansas City architect Joseph Radotinsky in the Georgian Revival style using brick salvaged from the former high school on the same site. The facility was expanded in 1948, under the supervision of Wichita architects Overend and Boucher, to include a four-story addition housing a new polio ward, emergency facilities and a two-story chapel. It was nominated as part of the New Deal-Era Resources of Kansas multiple property nomination for its significance in the areas of health and medicine.

Also added to the list include St. Margaret's Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., Marysville High School and Junior High complex, Beni Israel Cemetery in Eudora, Eureka ATSF Depot and Gray Photography Studio and Residence in St. John.

A Hays building also has been removed from the National Register list.

The Krueger Building (Opera House) in Hays was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2006 for its local significance in the areas of architecture and entertainment history.

The building was built in 1878-79 by William Bryon for pioneer merchants Henry Krueger and his brother, Fred. They wanted a building in which they could operate a general store on the first floor and host performances and community events on the second floor.

The building had been vacant for many years, and attempts to rehabilitate it were unsuccessful. It was demolished in August.

Brookville Hotel in Brookville also was removed from the list.