Our Gundersen Tweeten History
The roots of Gundersen Tweeten Care Center started in 1916 when the Spring Grove Hospital was built. This hospital served the people of Spring Grove in all aspects of their healthcare including surgery and infant delivery.
Oscar and Zena Tweeten, originally from Spring Grove, went to Chicago to start a manufacturing business. In early 1960, the Tweetens returned to Spring Grove with the idea that a new hospital would be built. Construction of the new facility began in 1962 and included a 20-bed hospital and a 31-bed nursing home. An open house ceremony was held on Aug. 18, 1963, for the Tweeten Memorial Hospital and Convalescent Home named in honor of the generous benefactors to the hospital.
(Quoting the Spring Grove Herald, Thursday, August 22nd, 1963)
The new medical facility occupies a prominent site in the new Myrah addition on the east end of town. Pictured is a view from the south west showing the main lobby, with the large convalescent unit at the back. The east windows of the convalescent home offer a picturesque view of cultivated fields and wooded valleys. The site offers ample parking and easy access. The hospital has 20 beds and the convalescent unit 30. It is completely air-conditioned.
In the fall of 1967, a wing was added to the hospital which brought the license capacity to 38 beds. In the fall of 1972, an addition to the nursing home was completed, which included a large multi-purpose solarium, craft room, beauty shop, chapel and brought the license capacity to 47 beds. In April of 1976, the south wing of the hospital was converted to a skilled nursing facility. This was due to a low number of hospitalizations. In January 1979, Tweeten Memorial received authorization from Minnesota Department of Health to convert four hospital beds to skilled nursing. Also, in 1979, the former Labor and Delivery area was remodeled to create a new four-bed skilled nursing room, a whirlpool bath room and a small office room.
During the spring of 1986, the Spring Grove Hospital Association began negotiating with various organizations for a possible sale of Tweeten Memorial Hospital. In September 1986, Lutheran Health System-LaCrosse purchased the hospital, clinic and nursing home, and renamed the facility Tweeten/Lutheran Healthcare Center. The new board of directors was comprised of individuals from Lutheran Health System and people from the local community.
Following this partnership, the facility developed programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy, developed a swing-bed program in the hospital and acquired a podiatry practice in Decorah, Iowa. In addition, a general medicine physician, Dr. Glenn McCarty, was recruited for Spring Grove. During the summer of 1992, hospital administration received approval from the Board of Directors to begin a 2,700-square-foot addition, which would add three more clinic rooms and additional office space. This was made possible by generous donations from the community and from the Tweeten Foundation.
In 1993, the facility started a patio project with generous memorials from families of former residents and proceeds from sales of the 30th anniversary cookbook. In October 2001, the 10 bed hospital was closed. A 12-bed dementia unit, The Woodlands (formerly Unit 1), was created in 2002. This was updated with a dining room, kitchenette and patio in 2009 to provide a more home-like atmosphere. For a short period of time the facility’s name was changed to Tweeten Health Services and then returned to Tweeten Lutheran Healthcare Center, Inc.
In 2005, Tweeten contracted with Aegis Therapy who to provide inpatient as well as outpatient rehabilitation still today. The attached clinic with X-ray and lab services is open weekdays with Dr. Robert Breitenbach serving as medical director since 2007.
Today, Gundersen Tweeten Care Center is a thriving organization with 84 employees, being one of the largest employers in the city of Spring Grove. We offer compassionate care with trained professionals, a rich variety of activities in a friendly environment, excellent meals with specialized diets, with a goal to promote health and happiness of each individual resident.