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As It Was: Hunting Lodge Owner Builds Crescent City Hospital

In 1929, George O. Knapp, a wealthy entrepreneur, announced plans to build a hospital at Crescent City, Calif.  He already had been instrumental in transforming the Santa Barbara (Calif.) Cottage Hospital into a premier facility.

While traveling in retirement, Knapp had purchased land and erected a hunting lodge on the Smith River.  As a sufferer of diabetes, he discovered healthcare was scarce on the Coast, so he did something about it. 

The Knapp Hospital opened in 1931 on Battery Point in Crescent City with class ‘A’ construction, reinforced concrete, and outstanding ocean views.  At a cost of $60,000 (equivalent in value to more than $900,000 in 2020), it had two wings, two stories, a surgery, nursery, 41 beds, and was fully equipped.

Upon completion, it was assumed the institution would be self-supporting and open to the public. Those who could afford to pay were charged. No one was refused when in need.  The Knapp Hospital was later named the Seaside Hospital.  It then became part of the Sutter Coast Hospital system until it was permanently closed and demolished, in 1992.

Twenty years later, a motel opened on the site.

Sources: "George O. Knapp Will Build New Hospital For Crescent City." Reflections of Del Norte County, vol. 14, no. 3, p. 3;"George Owen Knapp." Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Owen_Knapp.

"Beginning of the End." Del Norte Triplicate, 16 Sept. 1993.

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Laurel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Humboldt State. Her research efforts as a volunteer for the Curry Historical Society produced numerous newsletter articles and exhibits and earned her a reputation as a seasoned local history buff. Laurel is the author of "Renderings from the Gold Beach Pioneer Cemetery", a 50-page booklet containing a walking tour and snippets about the lives and times of folks buried there. She is also a contributing writer to Oregon Coast Magazine.