Dr. Louise Koester

Does MPHS have photographs: Yes

 Address in Mount Prospect: 221 S. Owen

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 Marriage

 Date: No

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Interesting information on life, career, accomplishments:

Dr. Louise Koester was the first doctor in Mount Prospect. She was born in Hanover, Germany and came to the U. S. in hopes of becoming a medical missionary to Africa. She attended Wheaton College studying medicine and dreamed of using her training in Africa. While looking for a hospital to complete her residency, she faced gender discrimination. It was hard for her to find a hospital that would allow her to train since the majority only allowed women to train as nurses. She learned about Mary Thompson Hospital which was the first all-women staffed hospital located in Chicago. Mary Thompson Hospital accepted Koester and she completed her training there.

Dr. Koester first heard of Mount Prospect through her friend and colleague, Dr. John Renner of Palatine. Dr. Renner told her of Mount Prospect’s need of a doctor in the growing community. She weighted her choices and decided that it was her calling to go to Mount Prospect and help the small community in need of a doctor, however she continued to contribute to missionary work, even donating enough money to build a hospital in Africa.

In 1926 Dr. Koester soon opened an office inside her house, charging two dollars for office calls and three dollars for house calls. Soon after Dr. Koester opened shop another doctor also moved to town. Realizing the need for a hospital, Dr. Koester and Dr. Wolforth opened up the first hospital for accident victims. When asked what it was like being a doctor at the time Dr. Koester commented, “It was very hard to be a doctor then for there were no antibiotics and the training included making all of the medicines we gave to patients. Many times it was hard to decide what to do for a patient so I did my best and prayed.”

A local doctor was reported to have said: “She won’t stay there very long, she’ll last only two weeks or maybe a few months. Who wants to go to a woman doctor anyway?” After twenty-six years of dedicated service, the Village of Mount Prospect acknowledged Dr. Koester’s work in a special proclamation in 1965.

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