I’ve had two visits to Marcus J. Lawrence Medical Center in the past month–neither for anything i had, but for friends. The first visit was to sit with a friend whose husband was having knee surgery. He is out, and back home doing well now.

Today I visited another friend who was admitted yesterday. She had a nasty fall and fractured a vertebrae. She will be out of the hospital by Saturday, she thinks.

The hospital–notice that they are no longer called hospitals–was very impressive to me. Lovely fountains and a courtyard off the surgery center, and large rooms for patients. The most interesting thing is how the hospital got its name.

Marcus J Lawrence had been a snake oil salesman at one time. He was one of many owners of the V Bar V cattle ranch (of which part is home to fantastic Sinaguan petroglyphs. Marcus liked to gamble and carouse over in Prescott, where the red light district was easy to find on Whisky Row. The Lawrence family, longtime Verde Valley residents, were well-regarded and from what I understand, a family member endowed Cottonwood with the funds to build the hospital. I may have some of that history garbled, but for sure Marcus sold a balm said to cure all sorts of ailments. Maybe Marcus turned his wild life around near the end of his life and chose to bequeath his funds to this project.

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