Window on the Clearwater
Traditional news Today's technology
triviahead.JPG - 10433 Bytes

Sam Bacharach, Lumpkin County, GA, is the Winner!

Dr. John McKelway is the answer for Clearwater History Trivia #647, a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.

Join in the discovery!

Tuesday: An unusual name

Wednesday: Blue eyes

Thursday: A family tradition

Friday: A cracked pitcher

Saturday: Tuberculosis

Monday: Member of Orofino Chamber of Commerce

Tuesday: Born in Pennsylvania

Wednesday: Chose to live in the West

Thursday: Loved his work

Friday: Considered one of the best in the country

Saturday: Frowned on political interference

Monday: Studied in Europe

Tuesday: Employee apartments

Wednesday: Spent time recovering from tuberculosis

Thursday: Economical with public money

Friday: Cooking and heating done with wood

Saturday: Graduated with high honors

Monday: 1st Lieutenant in medical corps

Tuesday: Requested a budget that would allow more employees

Wednesday: Boy Scout Executive Committee

Thursday: The second one

Friday: Was connected with the government immigration service as an expert

Saturday: Made many improvements to benefit others

Monday: It was believed he died of a heart attack.

Tuesday: Advocated for increased financial support

Dr. John McKelway was the second superintendent of State Hospital North, following Dr. James Givens who established the institution He served from 1926 until his death in 1941. Being a doctor was a family tradition as he was preceded by five generation of physicians.

He was born in Philadelphia Dec. 23, 1875. He graduated from the Rittenhouse Academy, a preparatory school, and with high honors in medicine from the University of Pennsylvania before he was 21 years old. Later he spent 18 months touring and studying in Europe. He was then was placed in charge of Blockley Hospital in Philadelphia. Later, he spent 16 years in the New York state hospital system. He was chairman of the state board of alienists and connected with the government immigration service as an expert in mental diseases of non-resident and alien insane.

In 1914, he took a year's leave of absence and came west due to his wife's health. He loved it so much that he never returned east, except to terminate his affairs there. He served as a first lieutenant in the medical corps during World War I and was discharged with tuberculosis. He spent two years recovering.

McKelway came to SHN from Fort Steilacoom, WA, where he was a physician and an administrator in the Western State Hospital.

Because he loved his work and was one of the greatest psychiatrists of the country, McKelway made a great personal sacrifice to stay in the west. According to the history of SHN, he was an aristocrat by birth and a democrat by nature. Though he was a political appointee, he frowned on political interference with his work. The history says he built SHN into a model institution with a good reputation in the west.

Funding was a challenge and McKelway advocated for the money needed to best serve the patients that were in his charge. There is a story that some state officials came to Orofino and were hosted at McKelway's residence for dinner. His wife used family heirloom china and silverware. The governor and legislators left with the attitude that with the fine appointments at the McKelway home, the institution could not need much money. The next time the group came, McKelway had his wife use only what belonged to the state, including a big, heavy, white pitcher with a crack which was placed in front of the governor. Whether it influenced the decisions in Boise or not, the hospital got more money that year.

As the patient count grew, McKelway also advocated with the North Idaho Chamber of Commerce and told them that with the increasing numbers and the area they served, more buildings and other facilities were needed. Baldridge Court (staff apartments), as well as a slaughter house, farm house, Givens Hall with an auditorium, McKelway's house, a new laundry building, Dr. Wade's home and a horse barn were all constructed during his time as superintendent.

At that time SHN had extensive farming operations that the patients worked in. All the cooking and heating was done with wood up until at least 1934 and possibly into the 1940s.

After McKelway died, a staff physician, Dr. R.W. Wade took over for about a year and a half before he was called into service in World War II.

Trivia Archives

Sponsored by:

Want accurate, daily news for Orofino and Clearwater County?

Subscribe to:

Window on the Clearwater
Traditional news Today's technology

It's a bargain at $3 per month, $18 for 6 months or $30 per year. (Idaho residents, please add 6% sales tax)

Subscribing is easy:

  • Drop us a check with your email address and we will sign you up. (See the mailing address at left)
  • Pay online: Click this Registration link and follow the Pay Pal instructions.

Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Orofino 476 0733
Fax: 208-476-4140