In 1900, Samuel Logan Moore established a fund to build a 25-bed hospital to honor his mother. Moore, a lifelong bachelor, and his mother, Eleanor, had moved to Boone in 1867, where Moore became a prosperous banker, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Eleanor died at the age of 80 in 1891 after suffering a painful injury. Moore wished to provide a facility for the care and treatment of seriously ill or injured individuals, so they would not suffer as his mother had.
The Eleanor Moore Hospital was erected at the cost of $20,000 in 1903-1904 on a commanding tract of ground on the south side of Boone at the corner of Marshall and First Streets. Moore helped to furnish the hospital and, in 1909, he built a 15-bed addition to the hospital at a cost of $15,000. Although fraternal organizations, other individuals and civic groups contributed money and furnishings for the hospital, Moore spent more than $50,000 on the hospital’s establishment. Until well into the 20th century, the hospital also operated a nurses’ training school.
In 1919, ownership of the hospital was transferred to the county, and the hospital became the Eleanor Moore County Hospital. Six years later, fire destroyed the hospital’s roof and major portions of its interior. It was rebuilt, giving the structure a more straight-line profile and eliminating porches, dormers, gables and the spiral roof of the original building.
In 1931, the hospital was renamed the Boone County Hospital. Eleven years later, in 1942, a 42-bed addition was opened, containing new operating and delivery rooms. A new 100-bed hospital was constructed in 1956, and the original hospital building was razed. In 1969, a 166-bed wing was added. Another addition was built in 2000 and the 1956 portion of the hospital was closed. A specially designed Life Flight heliport was placed on top of the new wing. Previously, helicopters had landed in the parking lot across the street. The 1956 building was torn down in 2006 to provide parking for the facility.
The hospital became a member of the American Hospital Association in 1960, and a special care unit opened 10 years later. Cardiac rehabilitation began in June of 1989, and pulmonary rehabilitation began in March of 1992.
One of the most challenging years the hospital ever faced occurred in 1918. On March 4, 1918, a head-on collision between two trains on the Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern Railroad near Napier killed four persons and caused 20 to be hospitalized. On May 21, 1918, a tornado swept through the eastern part of Boone, killing eight and injuring many, 46 of whom were hospitalized. In the fall, the 1918 flu epidemic struck Boone County, requiring many persons to be hospitalized.