(Old) City Hospital, Dallas, Texas

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(Updated August 4, 2004)



A Thanksgiving Appeal to the Benevolent.

To The News.
ALLAS, Nov. 29. --It has been about a month since the city received from the contractors the new hospital, or rather the new addition to the old hospital. This addition is a handsome, two-story frame building erected after the most approved plan of hospitals, and it affords more than double the room before had. It has a nice bathroom attached, is divided into wards, and embraces a dining hall and kitchen. The health officer visits the hospital twice a day and oftener when necessary, and the death rate, it is claimed, is lower than in any similar establishment in the state. To-day being thanksgiving, the convalescents, who eat in the dining hall, had an extra dinner. There was no turkey, however, the charitable people of the city having forgotten to provide any, but Mr. Sanders, the steward, gave the patients a bountiful supply of chickens, roasts, vegetables, soups, pies, etc. On the whole, it was a very good dinner, and all who partook of it were thankful. This hospital is an eleemosynary institution, supported by the city government. There are many little things in the way of delicacies for the sick and the convalescing the city cannot provide, but which might be furnished by the charitable and benevolent who remember the poor and the sick and the helpless and needy so generously. Those who find lodgment and medical care and nursing in this institution, men and women, are fellow creatures with us all and their needs appeal as strongly for help to those upon whom fortune has smiled as though they were not the city's wards. Little kindnesses, little attentions, little remembrances go a long ways with the sick and the feeble, especially when they are moneyless and friendless, as the most of those are who are patients in the city hospital. A delicate dish from some kindly heart, a book or a paper to read, to help while away the weary hours of convalescence, help to bring back the hues of health to pale cheeks and strength to weakened bodies and limbs and puts new life into saddened hearts. Has the young men's Christian association ever taken or sent a tract to the city hospital? Has any one from their ranks, seeking to help the Master's cause, ever gone to the hospital to talk with the afflicted? to lift a cup of cold water to fevered lips in the name of Him they serve? to pray with the dying? to tell the story of the cross and carry the message of salvation to those whose hearts may be barren of the blessed truth? Here is work for them, for of those who go there in their illness, many will present fields fallow and ripe for the seed.                                                                                   X.

- November 30, 1888, Dallas Morning News, p. 8, col. 3
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     Committee reports were presented as follows:
Hospital and health--Recommending a new location for the city hospital, or as alternate, the erection of an addition to the present hospital. Referred.

- November 4, 1889, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 3, col. 1-2.
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[No Heading]

     Those of our citizens who are philanthropically inclined cannot fail to recognize the need of a comfortable fire-proof hospital for the city. The matter has been overlooked too long, and it is quite time that something definite should be done. Will anybody come forward in the interests of humanity and donate a lot towards the erection of the building?

- November 25, 1889, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 5, col. 3.
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[City Health Officer's Report]

     This hospital is situated on South Lamar street. It is a good average two-story frame building with a small attached one-story frame. It has bath rooms and other conveniences, dining rooms, office, wash house, etc., all in good average condition, clean and comfortable. It is divided into eight wards--six for men and two for women. It contains fifty beds of average hospital quality. The building requires a new coat of paint inside and out and some repairs. In this building were treated, during the year, 599 patients, embracing all classes of injuries and diseases. Of these patients, 498 were men, 73 women, 13 male and 15 female children. Of this number, 53 died, all adults. The diseases and injuries of which they died are embraced in the general mortuary statement of the city (See table No. 2).
     The persons regularly employed and residing in the hospital are: W. D. Sanford, hospital steward; Mary A. Sanford, matron; Maggie McCraw and Max Shopes, nurses, a cook and a laundress. Other help is employed from time to time as needed. Several of these persons have been in the hospital several years until their experience has become valuable. Their salaries are small. I recommend a moderate increase in their pay. (See table No. 3 for salaries).


     It is scarcely necessary to mention the fact that this city has outgrown its presence hospital accommodations. A new building with larger dimensions and better facilities, a building equal to the magnitude of the city in every other respect, is the present demand. It is proper to state in this connection that the committee on hospitals and health, is, at present, actively engaged in devising ways and means to secure the ground and erect the building.


     Since my last annual report, this hospital has been repaired and much improved. In addition to this, a neat three-room cottage has been erected near the hospital, to be occupied by the physician, in case of a small pox invasion. The grounds have been much improved by the keeper, Mr. Moore. He is a good keeper and an expert nurse in small pox. He takes care of the building and the grounds, and keeps a wagon and team of his own on the ground, ready to be used whenever needed in transferring cases from the city to the hospital. I recommend that his salary be increased (see table No. 3 for salary). The only other needed improvement at the suburban hospital is a well to supply water. It is inconvenient to get water. A well will cost about twenty dollars.

- April 21, 1890, Dallas Daily Times Herald, pp. 5, 8.
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Health Officer Wilson Favors a
$75,000 Hospital With Pri-
vate Apartments.


And a Free Dispensary for the
Benefit of the Poor - Will
Ask for the Appropria-

    Dr. W. R. Wilson, city health officer, says he is going before the city council and ask for an appropriation of $75,000 to be expended in the erection of a large modern hospital building, one that will be in keeping with the demands of the city and that will include all modern appliances and improvements. There is no question about the necessity for such a building existing, Dr. Wilson says, and while Dallas is a splendid city, in other respects, she is sadly behind in providing charitable institutions. But, the plan which he proposes will bring the city some revenue, sufficient, he is inclined to think, to meet all running expenses, and, besides, provide a sinking fund. He proposes to have private apartments fitted up for rent in the building, where physicians could send their patients when they felt so disposed and treat them. In this way, many would come here from over the state. Many young men of means who are without homes when attacked with a spell of sickness, would prefer to rent apartments in the hospital where they could have every attention from expert nurses and physicians, rather than remain at their boarding houses.
    Dr. Wilson would retain the old hospital for emergency cases. It is located in the center of the city and would be well suited for an ambulance hospital. In addition to the hospital feature, he would add to it a dispensary where the poor people could go and have their prescriptions written out and procure their medicines without cost. He says the city is forced to care for many of this class now, when if they could get their prescriptions and medicine free, they would return to their homes and not lie in the hospital, as many of them do now.
    The new hospital, he says, should be located on a plat of four or five acres of ground. If the city cannot raise the money any other way, he will advocate submission of the measure to the people to say whether or not it shall become a subject for special taxation.

- November 19, 1890, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 6.
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The Report of the City Health

     The city health officer has his annual report about completed. It will be submitted to the city council to-night. Estimating the city's population at 45,000, and the fact that there were 531 deaths or less than twelve to the thousand, shows a rate that will compare favorably with the healthiest cities in the country. There has been treated in the city hospital for the year ending, April 20, 506 patients, out of which there were forty-five deaths, and a number of these were dying when they reached the hospital. His report will show that the service at the hospital has been improved by the employment of a resident physician, which has been done without an increase in the monthly pay roll or expense account. He recommends the building of a new hospital, as the one now used is wholly inadequate in size to the demands that are made for admission of patients, and is illy located and inconveniently constructed.

- April 23, 1892, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 5.
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[No Heading]

     The city health officer will recommend to the council that the two rooms next to the hospital now being rented from Sanger Bros. at a cost of $25 a month, be vacated, since the ridding of the hospital of the foreign paupers makes enough room in the main building for the city's patients.

- August 20, 1892, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 5.
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Dallas About to Occupy a New Home for
Her Helpless Sick--Model Wards
for Different Classes of Patients,
With Modern Conveniences.

     A year ago, a reporter pocked a way through mud and other obstacles to an old building on Lamar street and tried to realize that this rookery was considered the municipal hospital of a large city. The city physicians had said that it was utterly without necessary conveniences, proper sanitation, and could not claim the usual privilege of a surgical ward. The tired, though heroic matron, who combined the offices of housekeeper and lady manager with those of a day and night nurse, informed the newspaper representative that her assistants in the women's ward were ex-pauper patients who were scarcely on speaking terms with Aesculapius. The building itself, situated in a most undesirable part of the city for the purpose, where the proximity of a large freight depot brought the noise of trains and traffic, yet where the convenience of a pavement was an unknown luxury; the walls so filled with septic germs and the whole place so suggestive of disease, that the reporter felt, after leaving, that to undergo a personal fumigation, like Mr. Dolls, would not have been amiss.

* * *

     The TIMES HERALD afterward felt the great necessity to our city of a new hospital, in a different locality, and under different conditions, and began the good work of petitioning and insisting in behalf of the people of Dallas, and the result has been a success far beyond what might have been anticipated in the short space of time.
     The new hospital, just completed, is situated in the northern part of the city and surrounded by 65 acres of grounds, the building large enough to accommodate 220 patients. It is 234 feet long and two stories high, with male and female wards, maternity wards, wards for children and a surgical ward. There are accommodations also for colored patients, electric lights, a dead house, artesian water, from several good city wells on the grounds, for bathing, culinary and operative purposes, only needing a small engine to lift the water into the tanks; there is plenty of Trinity water for protection against fire and for lawn sprinkling. There are reception rooms, resident physicians' apartments, drug rooms, kitchens and wash rooms with private dining-room for officers and employes' apartments. The nursing department will be under the control of Miss Mary Baber, an experience trained nurse from St. Luke's hospital in New York, and it is intended to forma well organized nucleus from which a practical training school for nurses will be developed. An ambulance service will be organized upon the system used in the hospitals of large city, and in view of this, the council of last Saturday ordered one of the model ambulances for carrying sick and injured persons, and that will cost $475.

* * *

     A special and very important feature of the new hospital will be the private wards for pay patients, entirely removed from the other wards, and placed in the second story, over the administrative department. It is a well known fact that in large cities, persons with means find it most desirable to enter the large hospital for treatment, recognizing, also, the fact that the service and attention to the sick must be best there. These private apartments will be fitted with every comfort, and the patient has the privilege of the attention of any preferred physician. The hospital will furnish apartment, attendance, nurse, diet and medicine, every requirement, in fact, except the physician's services, for from $7 to $12 per week. These rates are obviously far less than could be obtained at a first class hotel, where board would be at least $2.50 per day, $2 a day for nurse, $1 for medicine, and $2.50 at the lowest, for a physician, making a sum total of $8 a day.

* * *

     With the possible exception of the Sealy Hospital in Galveston, these are the only private wards in any hospital in Texas. The blessing these private wards will be to strangers in the city, persons without permanent homes, or persons who require careful treatment, can scarcely be estimated. The entire building will be supplied by home firms, the furniture having already arrived, and it is anticipated that this new hospital will be opened on the 15th of this month. Dr. Armstrong will shortly petition the city council to appoint a staff of visiting physicians, whose services will be rendered gratis to the city. The grading and embellishing of ground, cutting out unnecessary trees, laying sidewalks and the placing of an iron fence are going forward with all possible speed, and it is hoped that the citizens of Dallas will go out and visit what, in time, will be one of the most attractive places about the city.

* * *

     Dr. Armstrong considers that the citizens of Dallas are more indebted to the TIMES HERALD, excepting the services rendered by the Board of Aldermen, for their new city hospital, than to any other factor of assistance.

- May 8, 1894, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 3, col. 3-4.
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Added February 15, 2004:




A Great Formal Opening to be Held Sat-
urday to Which all the City Officials,
Newspaper Men and the Citi-
zens at Large Are Invited.

     On Saturday, one of the largest and most important openings that ever took place in Dallas will occur. It will be a spring opening, to which not only the ladies of the city are invited, but a large body of municipal chiefs and officers, physicians, newspaper men and as many members of the other professions as can find it convenient to be present, are expected to attend. The occasion will be the opening day of the new city hospital, an event that will mark a great change in the welfare of the city. The details of the new hospital, its officials and service were all given in a recent issue of the TIMES HERALD, therefore, it is only the accomplishment of the long anticipated event we now announce. To-day is moving day, and beside the forty patients who were removed from the old municipal rookery, there will be very little of the old hospital transported.
     The hospital opens with eleven patients in the woman's ward, and twenty-nine in those of the men. Miss Baker, of St. Luke's Hospital, New York city, will enter to-morrow upon the duties of a trained nurse in the woman's ward, and it is anticipated, that from this beginning, an excellent local training school for nurses will follow.
     The city is to be congratulated upon the acquisition of so complete an establishment for its sick, a successful termination to an effort, in which the T
IMES HERALD feels that it has an especial right to rejoice, as it was among the few who led the van in this movement.

- May 16 1894, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6, col. 2.
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Added August 4, 2004:


They Object to a Colored School Near

     The School Board will hold a special session to-night for the purpose of reconsidering its action on Monday night of last week in locating a school house at the intersection of Gano and Preston streets for the colored pupils of the Fifth, Seventh and Twelfth wards. The old hospital building, standing at the corner of Austin and Young streets, is the building the Board intends to have moved over for the public school building for the colored people of the three wards referred to.
     But some of the white people living near the proposed site of the colored school have raised quite a protest, and hence the meeting to-night to hear from the protesters.

- August 19, 1895, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6, col. 7.
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Location of New Building For City's
Sick Determined on by


     Architects Hubbell & Green expect to be able to tell the city commission exactly what the new hospital will cost in a few days. Mayor Holland stated this morning. The location of the new building has been decided on. It will be placed some forty or fifty feet back of the present location.
     "As soon as the cost has been determined on," said Mayor Holland this morning," the commission will call a meeting of the advisory board of doctors to consider details of the building. The architects will probably be able to determine the cost in a few days."
     The commissioners made a trip of inspection to the city hospital this morning, where the work of removing the old building is in progress.

- July 4, 1912, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 4, col. 1.
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In Half Century There Has Grown a Four-Unit
Organization; Expansion Funds Approved

    The public hospital system in Dallas and Dallas County, which now includes four modern institutions for needy invalids and those suffering from contagious diseases, had only feeble antecedents in 1885, when The News began publication here. Only a two-room city hospital and the county poor farm were available then.
    Since 1872, the County Commissioners had employed a physician to inspect the jail and give medical attention to prisoners and paupers. Usually this appointment was given to the lowest bidder, and it paid only $25 to $60 a month. Early in 1877, the county had bought from William J. Keller for $4,500 a tract of 339 11-25 acres near Hutchins for use as a county poor farm.
    This farm was used not only for paupers but also for county prisoners and for people suffering from mental diseases. In the minutes of the Commissioners' Court for 1883, the term, "physician to the lunatics" is used with reference to the doctor who combined many of the duties of the present county health officer and those of the medical superintendent of the Convalescent Home, which succeeded the poor farm.

Prisoners Worked the Land.
    Prisoners at the farm raised cotton and cattle, and in some years they were required to work on the construction and upkeep of county roads. The old section of the negro building of the Convalescent Home still has bars across the windows, indicating the cells where prisoners formerly were kept. Dr. W. P. Stone was county physician when The News published its first issue here. In February of 1885 there were forty-six prisoners and a dozen paupers on the poor farm.
    The poor farm later became the Convalescent Home and is now a unit in the City-County Hospital system formed in 1913. It had a daily average of 322 inmates in 1933-34, and now has more than 250. Its principal buildings are two three-story brick structures, men's building, erected in 1914, and a women's building, constructed the next year. Dr. T. H. McConnell is now medical superintendent, having succeeded Dr. A. W. Carnes in 1934, and Mrs. Minnie Simmons is house supervisor. The land is now rented out, except for a garden.

For Tubercular Patients.
    Woodlawn Hospital, for tubercular patients, had its origin in the Tubercular Sanitarium built by the city and county at Record Crossing in 1913. The original buildings were all of wood, but substantial brick units were added in later years, making possible special wards for children and for Negroes. The hospital now averages about 100 patients. Dr. Roy Goggans is superintendent.
    Union Hospital was established early in the century, when it was commonly referred to as the pesthouse. Located on the same grounds with Woodlawn, it is devoted entirely to smallpox and other serious contagious cases. Mrs. Ruby Brannon is matron. Following the completion of improvements being made at Parkland Hospital, it is planned to handle contagious cases at that institution and close Union as a separate unit. The building now occupied by Union Hospital may then become a part of Woodlawn or may be used for bedridden patients now at the Convalescent Home.

Origin of Parkland.
    Parkland Hospital, the largest unit in the city-county system, is the outgrowth of a tiny city hospital established at Wood and Houston streets about 1880. A lean-to had been attached to a one-room cottage, but little attention was paid to this so-called hospital, and it usually was without a patient.
    By the time The News began publication here, in 1885, a more commodious hospital was in operation. The city had moved a negro school building from Market street to a site on Lamar street between Wood and Young streets. This two-story frame building which originally cost about $1,500, was remodeled, making two wards of about twenty-five by sixty feet each, and patients were transferred May 27, 1885. A small cottage on the lot was used as a kitchen. The hospital had a capacity of twenty-five, but sometimes thirty patients were crowded into it. Dr. J. L. Carter, City Health Officer, had the hospital renovated and whitewashed early in 1885.

Purchase of Grounds.
    About three years later, the city bought, for park purposes, a seven-teen-acre wooded tract at the north edge of the city and called it Parkland. This land now forms the grounds of Parkland Hospital.  Agitation for more adequate hospital facilities began soon. In 1890, John E. Owens wrote a letter to The News, suggesting the need for a better hospital. He pointed out that the old hospital did not have proper sanitation or trained nurses, that operations had to be performed in wards in the presence of other patients, and by the light of a small hanging lamp, and that the patrol wagon used for an ambulance jolted like an ox-cart and was equipped with only a primitive stretcher.
    Parkland Hospital, on the present site, was opened May 19, 1894. This hospital consisted of a group of wooden buildings built on the pavilion plan, in the manner of any army cantonment. The city continued to grow, however, and the original Parkland Hospital soon became inadequate and out of date. The meningitis epidemic of 1911, during which schools, churches and theaters were closed, made Dallas citizens aware of the need for enlarged and improved public hospital facilities.

First Unit Built in 1913.
    The first unit of the present modern, brick Parkland Hospital was built in 1913, the year the city-county system was formed. Other units were added in 1922 and 1930, increasing the capacity from 100 in 1914 to 200? at present, including thirty-five bassinets. Until 1922, the hospital handled only charity patients; such patients constitute about 95 per cent of the present total.

     Dr. J. H. Stephenson, superintendent of the city-county hospital system, has had direct supervision of Parkland since 1927, when he succeeded Dr. C. H. Standifer. Miss Josephine Nichols is superintendent of the school of nursing, which was established in 1914, and which graduates about twenty-five a year.  The hospital staff now includes 108 doctors, twenty-two internes, 100 student nurses and twenty-five graduate nurses. Parkland equipment includes a clinical laboratory, operating rooms, a maternity department and electro-therapy equipment.

Expansion Provided For.
    The expenditure of $341,256 for further improvements and equipment at Parkland was approved by city and county officials in 1934.  This expansion will include the addition of one floor to the nurses' home and two wings at the back of the hospital.  It will provide at least fifty additional beds for contagious cases and forty for Negroes, as well as quarters for internes.  Space will also be made available for new operating rooms, a psychopathic ward, kitchen, laundry and delivery room facilities. The present hospital is valued at about $450,000 and the nurses' home at $80,000.

     Expenditures of the city-county hospital system for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 1934, totaled $326,369.13, including $9,849 for administration, $229,3309.63 for Parkland, $48.768.44 for Woodlawn, $35,925.80 for Convalescent, and $2,516.26 for Union. Parkland served 9,405 patients during the year and gave 76,042 clinical treatments. In addition to the four units of the city-county hospital system, the city maintains a small Emergency Hospital on Commerce street, near the city hall. Most of its patients are accident victims who, after emergency treatment, are either discharged, or sent to one of the larger hospitals.

     In 1931, Dallas was selected as the site for a proposed psychopathic, pellagra and cancer hospital to be built by the State of Texas on land to be provided by the city. Appropriations for the construction of this hospital, however, have not yet been made.

-October 1, 1935, The Dallas Morning News, Anniversary Edition,
Section VII, p. 16.
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