By Worcester P. Bong
Did you know many streets at the VA Medical Center of the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System (NAVAHCS) in Prescott are named for important people? Look for these historic streets the next time you visit the Bob Stump VA Medical Center.
For instance, Whipple Parkway and Fort Whipple are named after Major General Amiel Weeks Whipple, an American military officer and topographical engineer. Working for the US War Department between 1848 and 1854, he surveyed the new U.S. and Mexico boundary and a possible transcontinental railroad route along the 35th parallel from Arkansas to Los Angeles. On May 7, 1863 he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia. Whipple is buried at the Proprietors’ Cemetery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Dr. Leib Lane is named after Charles Leib. In 1863, Leib was appointed as Acting Assistant Surgeon under contract to the U.S. Army and joined the Governor’s Party traveling to the Arizona Territory. In early 1864, Leib’s contract was abruptly terminated by Major Nelson H. Davis, Assistant Inspector General for the Arizona Territory. In July 1864, he ran in the first Arizona Territorial election as a candidate for Delegate to Congress. Official election results published in the August 24, 1864 edition of the Arizona Miner noted Leib losing to Charles D. Poston. He died on January 11, 1865 and was first buried at Citizens Cemetery in Prescott. He was later reburied beside his wife Mary at the Masonic Cemetery in Prescott.
Colonel Holmberg Road is named after Carl Edward Holmberg. In 1918 he became the first Commanding Officer when Whipple Barracks became U.S. Army General Hospital Number 20. Born in 1879 in Lund, Sweden, he later moved with his parents to Saginaw, Michigan. Holmberg attended Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for his medical education, graduating in 1908. He joined the U.S. Army in 1909 and graduated from the Army Medical School in 1910. Holmberg was stationed in San Francisco, Manila, and Fort Bayard, New Mexico before arriving at Whipple Barracks on May 9, 1918. Tragically, on January 1, 1919, he died of influenza. He is buried at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Saginaw.
Nell Crouch Road is named after Nell Waters Crouch, the first Chief Nurse of Whipple Barracks. She enlisted in October 1917 to become a nurse in the Army Nurse Corps. In May 1918, Crouch transferred to Whipple Barracks from Brownsville, Texas. Whipple Barracks hospital received its first patients on June 25, 1918. At that time, the nursing staff was three nurses. Crouch was instrumental in increasing the nursing staff to thirty-four. In March 1919, she moved back to Kansas City, Missouri to become Superintendent of the Visiting Nurse Association in Kansas City, Kansas. Crouch was actively involved in nursing education and children’s hygiene issues. Born in 1873 in Carrollton, Missouri, she died in Kansas City on December 25, 1960 and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Carrollton.
Dr. Allee Lane is named after Gail Darwin Allee. He attended Missouri University and St. Louis University for his medical degree. In 1918 he transferred to Whipple Barracks from Fort Riley, Kansas. In 1920 he stayed on the medical staff when Whipple Barracks was transferred to the U.S. Public Health Service. When the Veterans Bureau took over operations in 1922, Allee became the Commanding Officer. In 1932, he moved to Wadsworth, Kansas, becoming Chief of Medical Staff at the Veterans Administration hospital. Born in 1876 in Olean, Missouri, he died on July 30, 1946 and is buried at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Bel-Nor, Missouri.
“Days Past” is a collaborative project of the Sharlot Hall Museum and the Prescott Corral of Westerners International (www.prescottcorral.org). This and other Days Past articles are also available at archives.sharlothallmuseum.org/articles/days-past-articles/1 The public is encouraged to submit proposed articles and inquiries to email@example.com Please contact SHM Research Center reference desk at 928-277-2003, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for information or assistance with photo requests.