The history of this hospital began in the 1940s. The hospital was built as Basic Magnesium Hospital as the medical support for the Basic Magnesium Plant that provided critical goods during World War II.
After the war ended, there was no longer a need for magnesium to be produced for the war, and the plant's production slowed down. The plants were converted to peacetime uses, but attracting businesses was slow, and many of the people began to leave. Not all of them did, though. Some stayed, determined to scratch a living out of the Southern Nevada desert between Boulder City and Las Vegas.
Still, the hospital was put up for sale. It was purchased by the Adrian Dominican Sisters for one dollar a year, the assumption of the debt and a commitment to run the hospital for 25 years. That year, 1947, is where the story of Rose de Lima Hospital, now known as the St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, begins.
From 1955 through 1956, the hospital became accredited and it obtained a radioisotope (nuclear medicine) laboratory with the first accredited cancer treatment center. In 1957 was the first Mardi Gras Ball — the year I was born — and my mother sat on the Event Committee.
Selma was also involved in that early support of St. Rose. She had moved to Henderson in 1954 to work for Bank of Nevada, which she later managed, while her husband, Troy, was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base.
Selma got involved with St. Rose shortly after arriving in Henderson, when Sunrise Hospital made a move to buy St. Rose, which was failing financially. She recalled how community members met with the sisters and the mother general and pleaded with them not to sell the hospital to a private company. The conversation with the mother general went something like this, as Selma recalled:
"We said, 'Don't sell it, don't sell it.'
"But we're losing all this money," the mother general said.
"So a group of us came up with the money."
That group included City Councilman Lou LaPorta, Glen Taylor and James I. Gibson, who later became State Senate majority leader and was father of our current mayor, James B. Gibson.
We are pleased to be supporting St Rose Dominican and we hope that you all will help us support them in their many causes!