Saturday, February 8, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: February 8

February 8, 1914 – The Latto Hospital was opened for inspection this afternoon, and electric lighted for the first time in the evening. The number of visitors were [unexpectedly] large, considering the severity of the weather, and all were greatly pleased with the appearance of the building, which has been fitted in modern style. It is now being provided with new furniture and will formally open on [Feb. 12, 1914], when patients will be received.1

The Latto House/Hospital, Hastings, Minn.

Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain Feb. 8, 2014, 
as long as acknowledgement included.

“Rudolph Latto, a poor German immigrant, arrived in Hastings in 1856 with his bride. Starting as stableman at a Hastings hotel where his wife worked as cook, Latto became the prosperous owner of one of the city’s leading hotels, president of the Hastings German American Bank, a grocer and brewer. His large home, built in 1880-81, became the social center for the German people in the area.

The house was constructed of white brick from Chaska and typifies a transition from the Italianate to Eastlake style with second-story bay windows under bracketed cornice and truncated hipped roof.

The Lattos, community-minded and having no children, willed their house to the city of Hastings to be used as a hospital open to all doctors. They also left a sum of $10,000 for altering and enlarging the hospital plus $5,000 for a free bed for the poor.

In February 1914 the Latto Hospital opened for business. A new sky light illuminated the recently-completed white-tile operating room on the third floor. The second floor contained a nursery, obstetrical ward, bathroom and two rooms. The first floor had an office, small emergency room, two private rooms, a six-bed ward for men and a four-bed ward for women. An elevator with rope cables serviced the hospital.

The city maintained ownership of the Latto until 1987. A number of people have leased and operated it over the years in a low-cost charitable manner. In 1932 Mildred Schmitz leased the Latto Hospital; from 1944 to 1949, Mrs. Francis Krueger ran it; Mrs. Marie Fasbender operated the Latto as a nursing home from 1949 to 1957; Mrs. Delia Novak then leased the building and continued it as a nursing home. In 1970 it became the Hastings Board and Care with a bed capacity of 24 patients. It closed in 1985 and its residents moved to newer facilities.

That year, in need of significant renovation estimated at $40,000, the Latto became a topic of community interest. Soon after, a citizens committee appointed by the Hastings City Council recommended selling the Latto to private investors.

Pam and Dick Thorsen opened the renovated hospital as a bed & breakfast in 1989. “Rosewood” is the second B&B the Thorsens opened in Hastings. “Thorwood”, or the Thompson-Fasbender House, was also a hospital.

Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain Feb. 8, 2014, 
as long as acknowledgement included.

For decades, the Latto served as one of Hastings’ most prominent hospitals. Delia Novak noted in 1985 that “half of Hastings was born here”. A Graus descendant signed a purchase agreement with St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. The church sold the property in 1988 after it was unable to use the site for parking.”2

The house/hospital was named to the National Register of Historic Places on May 23, 1978.

1The Daily Gazette; Hastings, Minn.; Feb. 10, 1914; p. 4.

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