One of the most influential women in the Antelope Valley was Lancaster resident Anna “Mom” Evert. Mom was a kindly practical nurse and midwife who took care of the local sick and delivered many valley babies, many at the Western Hotel. She and her husband, Nick, a bootmaker and saloon keeper, came to Lancaster in 1891.
Mom Evert’s house, at the northeastern corner of 10th Street and Beech Avenue, was the town’s “hospital” from the early 1900s until 1921. In addition to being a nurse, Mom Evert had an ice cream parlor and worked as a laundress. She later left the field of nursing to operate a boarding house on Beech Avenue.
In one of the photos, Mom Evert can be seen with another leading Lancaster pioneer, Jane Porter Reynolds, who came to Lancaster in 1896. She was a cook at the Western Hotel where she met Maurice Reynolds Sr., a live-in tenant of the hotel. Love blossomed and the two married in 1897.
In 1937, Reynolds donated land at Elm Avenue and 13th Street for a park, as she felt sorry for children who came to town and had no place to play. This is now a City of Lancaster park with a pool named for her friend, Myrtie Webber. Reynolds lived on 9th Street (Jackman Avenue) and is buried beside her husband in the pioneer Lancaster Cemetery. Other members of the Reynolds family still reside locally.
Mom Evert had two important offices in her building on 10th Street: Dr. James Arwine’s medical office and Alice Rutledge’s real estate business, ”Antelope Valley Lands.” Dr. Arwine’s office was usually always busy and while Mom Evert delivered most of the babies, Dr. Arwine signed their birth certificates. On the occasion Dr. Arwine did deliver a baby, he charged approximately $15 for home delivery in 1912.
Dr. Seth Savage also had an office at Mom Evert’s place, but when she became ill he decided to build a home which also became the town’s new hospital; the house’s four front rooms were devoted to patients and by July 1924, there was room for ten patients.
By 1931, Lancaster enjoyed a fully equipped up-to-date hospital at 233 10th Street. Doctor Savage and dentist Percy Gaskill were once featured in “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” news article due to their unusually ”painful” sounding names.