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Land and debt were all the association had, and the land, for all its good points, had its problems. It was right next to two cemeteries and a garbage dump and had some drainage problems. These turned out not to be fatal flaws, however: the garbage dump would eventually be covered, the drainage problems were not as severe as they appeared, and the hospital could be designed so that patients wouldn't have to look out over gravestones.
Money was a serious problem, though, and the board focused almost exclusively on fund-raising for the next several years. They hired a famous fund-raiser from the East Coast whose program was a dismal failure. (Dr. Nelson would recall that "We set up an office for him in the Nelson Clinic at 9th and 63rd and hoped for a miracle. Every day when I would return to the office, often after a night at the hospital, he would greet me with the question, 'How much money have you raised today?' Here I was practicing medicine full-time and often up all night delivering babies and I would be greeted with that question! We soon got rid of that fund-raiser after spending what little money we had on him.")
In May of 1950, another fund-raiser was retained, also with disappointing results.
The trustees decided to concentrate on putting together a powerhouse board. After the land purchase, many of the original board members moved on to other activities. The association needed more trustees, preferably people with enough stature in the community to attract major contributors, enough business savvy to grow a hospital from almost nothing, and enough interest to put in long, hard hours. These would not be names on a letterhead; the hospital's board was then, as it is now, a working board.
The trustees' search led them back to their own North End neighborhood. By mid-1950, the board had recruited the first of these, Harry Givan, an insurance executive and Dr. Gould's brother-in-law, whose efforts kept the as-yet-inbuilt hospital's hard-earned money safe from the tax man. Recruiting Harry Givan may have been one of Dr. Gould's toughest assignments. Mr. Givan was as uninterested in the hospital as his brother-in-law was enthusiastic. "I was extremely reluctant in '49 to involve myself in a nebulous thing that was part hysteria from the war years," he said. "The principal thing that convinced me that they were serious was the acquisition of the property." He turned out to be one of the hardest-working and most dedicated of board members.
Mr. Givan and Drs. Nelson and Gould, as a recruiting committee of three, added a number of other prominent Seattle citizens to the board: Fred Baker, an advertising executive; labor leader Dave Beck; Rex Allison of Allied Stores, then owners of the Bon Marche and developers of Northgate; Henry Broderick, owner of a real estate firm; Don McDermott, real estate developer; Bill Sanders and Bill Culliton, prominent insurance men; Dr. Jack McVay; Herb Schiessl, owner of Fentron Steel; William O. McKay, the Ford distributor; and Charles Lindeman, publisher of the Post-Intelligencer; and William Blethen of the Seattle Times.
They also recruited attorney Charles Horowitz, who was chairman during the important years when the board wrestled with money and tax issues; Christian Johnson, a trust officer with Seattle First National Bank who would take over the treasurer's post; and, in 1953, R.C. ("Torchy") Torrance, the man who initiated the puzzle contests that put the association on its feet.
R.C. "Torchy" Torrance, whose puzzle contest raised $825,000 of much-needed money, was elected to the board in 1953.
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