Castle Rock Adventist hospital paused May 4 to celebrate the opening of its newest building on campus — the Briscoe Building — but also to honor the building’s namesake, Mary Briscoe, the county’s first certified public health nurse.
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The 60,000-square-foot, three-story building developed by MedCraft Healthcare Real Estate was completed in February, a year after construction began.
It is already home to practices such as Castle Rock Dental Group, HealthFit Family Medicine, Visionaire Eye Consultants and CHPG Women’s Health Ridgegate — and has 30,000 square feet still available for lease.
Castle Rock Adventist Health Campus CEO Todd Folkenberg said the building was bringing new opportunity to town.
“This building’s existence basically makes it possible for a number of health care practices to make their way to Castle Rock,” he said at a May 4 ribbon-cutting.
Eric Carmichael, a principal at MedCraft Healthcare Real Estate, said he could recall viewing the property before construction began, calling it simply a “field of dreams” at the time.
But the bulk of the celebration centered around Mary Briscoe, whose name graces the building.
Briscoe, born in Castle Rock in 1896, graduated from Douglas County High School in 1915 and from the Mercy Hospital Nursing School in Denver in 1923, said Angie DeLeo, director of the Castle Rock Museum. Like most nurses at the time, she worked as a private duty nurse in households.
In the 1930s, however, she attended a public health course at the University of Minnesota and the University of Washington in Seattle, becoming the first certified public health nurse in Douglas County.
As the public health nurse, she traveled throughout the county promoting the importance of nutrition and vaccinations among local schools, DeLeo said, and helped investigate epidemics while also sponsoring public health forums on topics such as tuberculosis.
After marrying local man Henry Enderud and becoming stepmother to his daughter, Bonnie, she left her position as the county’s public health nurse, only to return to nursing in the 1940s as war created a shortage of nurses, DeLeo said.
At the time, Briscoe commuted by train from Castle Rock to Mercy Hospital in Denver.
Briscoe died in 1958 at the age of 62. She’s buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Castle Rock, and today is honored not only by the hospital’s new building but also streets named for her or her husband, Enderud.
Pat Simmons, the oldest of Briscoe’s granddaughters, traveled from Montana to Castle Rock to attend the May 4 ceremony. Simmons described her grandmother as a social woman who loved hosting parties. Her specialty was brownies.
The family was grateful and happy for the honor given to Briscoe through the building, she said. Simmons, whose mother Bonnie is in hospice care and was unable to attend, choked up as she relayed her mother’s thanks to the crowd.
“She is very pleased,” Simmons said of her mother, “and so thankful that this is being done.”
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