• By Laurel Kelly

#FlashbackFriday 1951: Mayo’s Night Watchmen

May 13, 2016

Caryl Zeller and Otto Hubin, night watchmen in 1951, checking the automatic sprinkler systemThis article first appeared Sept. 29, 1951, in the publication Mayovox.

Our night watchmen, seldom seen by most of us, fill an important function in the protection and security of the Mayo Clinic.

Little is known of the activities of these night-time guardians — except perhaps to Otto Hubin, their immediate supervisor — yet through their vigilance and constant effort, the Clinic has maintained an excellent record in such matters as the protection against thievery, looting and the willful destruction of property. The vast stores of supplies, the hundreds of pieces of technical apparatus, the tools and devices — all of these have received their careful attention over the years.

Mack Ravenhorst and Juel Berg, night watchmen in 1951, checking the chart recorder, which records the “punching” of clocks located on the various floorsThey have helped to preserve intact the irreplaceable medical histories and other records, protecting them from damage by the elements by closing doors and windows which we have left open. (Did you ever stop to count the open windows on a hot Summer night?)

Fire Protection Vital

Our night watchmen have protected our own premises and surrounding properties from the arch-destroyer of all — fire.

Their role in assisting physicians, technicians and emergency patients has many times lightened the burden of others.

Ken Wiles, night watchman in 1951, demonstrating dousing a fire in a wastebasket

In addition to careful training, mutual problems are brought up and discussed regularly so that “the experience of one becomes the knowledge of all.” They must know the remote areas of all buildings, the location and function of safety devices, fire control apparatus, danger areas. They have been selected for their integrity — and their agility — in getting around the buildings, through the long corridors, service tunnels and stairs. They were also selected for their ability to do a job alone, without depending on others.

Ludowese ‘Dean’

“Dean” of the watchmen service is Lawrence Ludowese, who came to the Clinic 10 years ago as a security guard. “Lud,” by the way, is very much Clinic familywise — of his seven children, two are at the Clinic: Dorothy at Registration and Mary at the Clinical Pathology Laboratory. Other watchmen are Caryl Zeller, Mack Ravenhorst, Juel Berg and Ken Wiles.