County Poor Farm/Convalescent Home, Dallas County, Texas
To Dallas County Archives main page
Map of County Poor Farm
To Dallas County Poor Farm Census, 1900
(Updated November 1, 2004)

The County and the City.

    Once in a while there seems to be a clash between the county and the city in the matter of paupers, sick and well. The law is perfectly plain that it is the duty of the county to take care of all the paupers within its limits, and Dallas county has a poor-house and farm for the purpose. Yet, many such a case is palmed off on the city that properly belongs to the county, and per consequence the city hospital to-day is over-crowded with inmates, and, it is very probable, will have to get more hospital space. All paupers living in the city are cared for by the city, either where they live or in the hospital. This morning an old man asked admission to the city hospital, and was denied admission because he did not live in the city, but more properly belonged to the county. He is an old man, looks pale and emaciated, is very feeble, has one eye out, and one leg off, and is truly an object of charity and pity. The county should send him to the poor farm and take care of him, for he claims Dallas county as his home, and says he has been working in the country. He certainly is unable to work now and is penniless. The city has all it can care for. There are certain blatherskites, little cross roads, stem winding, selfcocking politicians who delight in trying to raise hostility among the people in the country against the city, and resort to all the lowflung and pitiful arts of the demagogue and subterfuges of ward pot house bummers to do it, and this very question of the poor farm, and the city hospital is one of their pet schemes. Certainly every man with a thimble-full of brains knows that what is to the interest of the city of Dallas is to the interest of all Dallas county. Dallas secures railroads by subsidies, not a dollar of which the people in the country pay, and Dallas city gives the right-of-way for railroads through her streets. The people in the country are as much, if not more, benefited by these railroads than the city, yet scores and scores of them want double the value of their land for right-of-way for a railroad, every one of which doubles the value of the balance of their land. Scores and scores, aye hundreds and hundreds of them, under the inspiration of these little crossroads orator puffs, complain whenever a pauper is sent to the poor farm, and say the city ought to take care of them.

- November 20, 1886, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. ??
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     An order was adopted this morning which provides for the erection of a new jail on the county poor farm which will be fitted out with new iron cages.

- February 15, 1889, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 5, col. 2.
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     The county commissioners adjourned to meet next Saturday when they will open bridge approaches. Next Friday, they will visit the county poor farm to investigate the impending necessity for an insane hospital. Commissioner McAdams says the state is unable to provide accommodation for the insane of the county, and Dallas county will endeavor to take care of her unfortunates in this class by erecting a comfortable building for them.

- November 18, 1889, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 5, col. 2.
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     In compliance with an order passed by the commissioners court, sealed bids will be received by me until 12 o'clock noon Dec. 12, 1892, from applicants for the following positions: Superintendent of the Poor Farm, Poor Farm Physician, County Jail Physician, Drug Prescriptionist and Janitor for the courthouse. The court reserves the right to reject any or all bids. Witness my hand and official seal this 29th day of November, 1892.
          County Clerk
          By W. M. S

- December 8, 1892, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 4, col. 6.
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Last Night -- None of the Prisoners At-
tempted to Escape -- Four Thousand
Bushels of Corn Destroyed -- What Su-
perintendent Burgess Has to Say.

     The large barn at he county farm near Hutchins was consumed by fire last night. Superintendent Dee Burgess had been held in this city all day as an attached witness and arrived at home just as the flames had gone beyond control. He organized a bucket brigade at once, and after hard work, succeeded in preventing a spread of the flames to the main buildings. But for the efforts of the superintendent and the bucket brigade, every building would have been food for the devouring elements.
     The barn contained a large quantity of hay and between 3500 and 4000 bushels of corn. About 200 bushels of corn, in a damaged condition, was saved.
     The origin of the fire is unknown. It was at first surmised that the prisoners had planned to escape by burning the building, but they were at supper and made no attempt to escape. The loss is heavy. There was no insurance on the building or contents.

- January 7, 1893, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 5.
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Added March 7, 2004:


Hard Times Have Not Increased Dal-
las County's Stock of Paupers.

     Superintendent Burgess, of the poor farm, in his report to the county commissioners, submitted yesterday, says he has thirty-six paupers and eleven prisoners.
     The hard times have not increased the average number of paupers on the farm.

- November 16, 1894, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6, col. 1.
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Added March 13, 2004:



Tools Rusty and Gapped, and the Mules
Stove-Up and Lame -- That's the Con-
dition the Commissioners Say
They Found Things In.

     The County Commissioners, yesterday, visited the county farm, and took a general survey, of the premises.
     Commissioner Barcus stated to a T
IMES HERALD reporter, to-day, that they found the farm in bad shape. While the buildings and fences are in fair repair, the machinery, implements and tools are decidedly rusty and worn out. The horses and mules are stove-up, crippled and in a run down condition, generally.
     In regard to these things, the Commissioners will make an unfavorable report, Commissioner Barcus says, but they will meet before rendering their report, in order to agree upon some sort of recommendations, by which the evils complained of may be remedied.

- December 14, 1894, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6, col. 3.
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Added April 18, 2004:



The Commissioners Wondering if the Farm
Has "Shrunk," or What on Earth
is the Matter - Henry
Smith's Theory.

     The County Commissioners have recently had the poor farm surveyed, and they find that it is 34 3/4 acres short of what it has all along been supposed to contain.
     The Commissioners have looked high and low for the missing land, and the report is in circulation at the court house that B. Burgess, the ex-Superintendent of the poor farm must have got away with it. In fact, it is hinted that he brought it up to Dallas and divided it with John Bolick, and that they are about to cut it into town lots and start an addition.
     Henry Smith, however, says that the 34 3/4 acres the Commissioners are looking for, is a narrow strip extending the entire length of the north side of the farm, but that it was never fenced in by the poor farm enclosure. He says that there was a separate deed for this strip, and in making the recent survey, the Commissioners tried to find 360 acres exclusive of this strip. Mr. Smith further says this strip is claimed by some minor heirs, with whose lands it has long been fenced. There is even a question, he says, as to whether the title of the county to the land is not barred by limitation.

- March 30, 1895, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 2-3.
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Judge Clint Receives the Grand
Jury Report

     Judge Clint of the criminal district court, received the report of the grand jury, and wound up his term yesterday. In that report, the grand jury set forth that they had been in session altogether during the term seven weeks, and had returned seventy-seven true bills, of which fifty-two were for felonies and twenty-five for misdemeanors. They had visited the country farm and found it in good conditions. The 240 acres of ground in cultivation in 1898 produced $3500 worth of surplus, which fell short of making the farm self-sustaining. They recommended the expenditure of $75 for repairs on the buildings of the farm, and the purchase of a wind mill and a tank. They found that Johnson grass had a footing on the farm, and recommended that Superintendent Burgess try all kinds of exterminating the pest. The report was signed by George O. Hambrick, foreman.

- January 1, 1899, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6, col. 2.
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added December 25, 2005:


Final Report of the Body
was Read Yes-


     The grand jury for the January term of court made its final report late yesterday afternoon to Judge Muse of the criminal district court. The document was read by T. J. Britton, foreman of the grand jury. Judge Muse thanked the jurors before finally dismissing them, and stated that he had found it unnecessary to direct them in their investigations.
     The report follows in full:
     To the Honorable District Court of Dallas County, Texas: The grand jury for the January term of A. D. 1903, respectfully submit the following report of their labors during said term:
     We also visited the county farm, and were much gratified to find everything there in such excellent condition. It is generally thought that such institutions are synonyms of squalor and poverty. But not so with the farm of Dallas county, for verily, in the language of one of our members, "It is a veritable palace of the poor." Its building are commodious and comfortable, and kept neat and clean. Its surroundings are pleasant; its fields are well cultivated and verdant with growing grain; its horses, cattle and hogs sleek and of the best breeds, and, taken altogether, it is an institution of which Dallas county may well feel proud. Under the chaperonage of its excellent superintendent, Capt. D. C. Burgess, who has served the county in that capacity for more than twelve years, and to whose ability, untiring energy, industry and integrity, may be ascribed its present splendid condition and capability for future good. We made a thorough inspection of the entire property, and we here give an inventory of what we found: Three hundred and sixty acres of land, of which 120 acres are in wheat, 40 acres in oats, 30 acres for corn,, 25 for cotton, 25 acres for sorghum, 90 acres in timber, and 30 acres in orchard, garden lots and yards. Meat raised on the place and in the smoke-house, 40,000 pounds; hay on hand, 60 tons; wheat on hand, 250 bushels; 50 heads of cattle, mostly Red Poll; 86 head of hogs, Berkshire and Poland-China; 8 head of good mules and 2 head of horses. The inmates number 51, and all testify to the fact that they are well cared for by Superintendent Burgess, Mrs. Burgess, the matron, and Dr. A. W. Carnes, the physician. Of these inmates, 14 are lunatics, 14 paralytics, 4 blind, 4 one-legged, 4 epileptics, 2 with cancer, and one with consumption. Of these, 4 are 85, one 105, and one, 117 years of age.
     F. J. BRITTON,
     Foreman Grand Jury, January term A. D. 1903.

- April 5, 1903, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 9, col. 1-2.
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A Model Institution Where the Unfortunate Poor are Cared
for--Captain Burgess' Work for Fifteen Years.
Needs of the Farm--Its Products.

(Written for The Times Herald.)

     The indifference of the people of his county to the interest involved in the management of the Dallas county farm is something scarcely less than criminal. Owing, however, to official visitations from the last two grand juries, there has been some awakening on this subject, which, it is hoped, may prove an earnest of better things to come. Supported as it is from the revenues raised by taxation, self-interest, it would seem, if there were no higher motive, should inspired investigation by those who thus contribute to its maintenance as to the modes and methods which obtain in its administration, that malfeasance or misfeasance, either or both, if such there be, could be ascertained, to the end that the guilty party or parties might be held to answer before the proper tribunal for neglect of duty, or worse, willful wrong. Familiar in detail for three years past with the work here done, and cognizant of every incident within that time that has transpired, I am constrained, in view of its importance, to seek through the columns of The Times Herald, the means of giving to the public the benefit of my experience and observation, that such an interest may be aroused as will further the effort to accomplish maximum results.
     It is an ideal place--one that would enthuse the soul of the artist and inspire the poet's sweetest pastoral. Situated on the table-land of the prairie is the superintendent's cottage, enclosed within sufficient space that, under the tasty eyes of the ladies of the family, is adorned with shrubbery of perennial green variegated with roses of every hue and redolent with the perfume of the jasmine and the honeysuckle. Within the general enclosure, there is the well, a never-failing source of an abundant supply of water, which by means of a windmill, is pumped into an elevated reservoir and then conveyed by pipes to the various buildings for domestic purposes, sewerage, irrigation and, better--as has been demonstrated within the recent past--as a protection against fire. Two years ago, but for its construction, the magnificent barn and its contents must have succumbed to the flames, caught from an adjoining cottage that would have entailed to the county, a loss of some $10,000. And here, in addition to the buildings for the patients, granaries, stables and barns, are many cottages, suited to the differently afflicted, arranged with just that degree of irregularity as gives relief to the weariness incident to studied precision and imparts to the vista, the charm of picturesqueness.
     Passing out of the gate to this general enclosure into a lane that leads down a gentle declivity across the macadam road to Dallas, nine miles northward, we find on both side, truck patches, luxuriantly productive in season, and out of season, too, for the that matter, of all the vegetables indigenous, not only to the north temperate zone, but to many that grow close to the equator, in that profusion of production and delicacy of flavor, than which, of all the lands warmed by the sun in his diurnal course, there are none that can surpass, and but few equal, the yield to the husbandman's toil from the black lands of Texas.
     Passing across the road and under the culvert, over which the railway--the Houston and Texas Central--is laid, and along whose track, some fifteen or twenty trains daily fly, we come to and pass through another gate and into another lane, and reach the initiative point of that part of the "farm" wherein is cultivated the various crops necessary to provide sustenance for both man and beast. To the right is the cultivated acreage. First, this year 100 acres in wheat, 1200 bushels, from which, is now in the granary, while on the left stand monarchs of the forest, whose shade refreshes man and beast, and whose limbs, of large proportions, are typical of the protection of the Omnipotent One and impresses the lesson, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow or turning. The wheat field left behind, we come to a pool, whose banks are is[sic] no variableness, nether shadow or Bermuda grass, and in which is staked the thirst of all. Then comes the corn, oats, millet, cotton, all up to the average this year, and some of them superior to like neighboring, when we reach the eastern fences which separates the cultivated portion from the wooded pasture and enter upon a scene of shadow and shade, beneath which, luxuriant grasses afford sustenance for a herd of graded cattle the equal of any in the state.
     An order for the purchase of the "farm" was passed by the commissioners' court in Nov. 1876, but it was not organized until Aug. 1877, when its first superintendent, Mr. Jerry Brown, was elected. His successors in the order named, have been Messrs. Kennon, Sims, Kilpatrick,, Gates, Burgess and Bennett, the latter of whom, after a term of two years, retired, when the incumbent, Capt. C. D. Burgess, was again called to the position, and has since been bi-annually re-elected, virtually without opposition, this making his 15th years of services in this capacity. The purchase was effected by a committee appointed by the court, consisting of T. G. Bledsoe of Hutchins and Hamp Whit of Dallas, the latter of whom, left the selection of the site to his co-committeeman, Mr. Bledsoe, who chose the present one, which has proved to have been quite wise and judicious, no less on account of the fertility of the soil, than for its most admirable sanitary conditions. It consists of 360 acres, about 225 of which, are in cultivation, the reminder being included in the roads, barns, ditches, building rates, etc., together with the wooded pasture. Up to 1897, it was a place of penal servitude, with the rescue and hospital feature as an adjunct, but since that time, owing to the exertions made in the direction by Hon. Geo. W. Neeley, present president of the commissioners' court, its purpose as a means of punishment for violators of the law, has been entirely eliminated, so that now it is a place of refuge for the destitute, the invalid and the helpless, pure and simple.
     Up to that time, cultivation was had by convict labor, now the work is done by hired hands, who are employed by the superintendent and who serve under his control and direction. How well, let facts within the period of which I write, tell the story. In the year 1900, there were forty thousand pounds of flour to the credit of the "farm" at one of the mills of the county, a part of what had been supply, and which supplied the institution until the incoming crop of wheat harvested in 1902, and that, notwithstanding the fact, that in obedience to the demand for help, which the storm of 1902 made imperative for desolated Galveston, the commissioners' court generously inspired, were among the first in the state to contribute, and did contribute to the destitutes for relief, twenty thousand pounds of flour. Up to the present time, there has been a sufficiency of wheat to furnish bread for the institution, with twelve hundred bushels of this year's harvest in the granary untouched for use in the future. Three years ago, the last season in which corn was a sure crop, there was gathered from about eighty acres, within a fraction of four thousand bushels, while this year, despite the floods of winter, the parched ground in consequence thereof, and the draught at seed time, entailing a bad stand, the corn and forage already gathered and to be gathered, have evidenced unremitting toil and finest judgment in cultivation. Hay, however, was saved and cured in abundance, and salted as ricked, furnished sustaining forage for the cattle during the past winter's trying weather, and brought them safely through, without the loss of a single one of their number, and, there is now on hand approximately thirty tons, with the promise of an abundant yield from this season's mowing. In the season of 1900-1, there was slaughtered a fraction of over 12,500 pounds of pork, in that of 1901-2 within a small fraction of 12,000 pounds, in 1902-3, a small fraction over 14,000 pounds, and of the 40,000 pounds thus slaughtered, only one joint--I mean only one--was ever tainted. The figures are correct in round numbers, the exact record having been taken from actual weight, net, by the writer, and which is now in his possession. There are now on hand about one hundred head of hogs, from which there is promised a greater yield of pork for the coming season of slaughter that was ever before produced in the history of the farm.
     After selling off twenty-seven head of cattle in Feb. 1901, there are now on hand, sixty-five head, an increase of over 150 per cent in two years and a half, a herd highly graded, of strong frame, beautifully proportioned and colored, with butter and milk output scarcely surpassed by thoroughbreds. There are also eight mules for farm purposes, fat and sleek, agricultural implements necessary for cultivating of ever description in god condition, and when not used, well housed. Vegetables, potatoes, sweet and irish, peas and beans of different varieties, turnips and cabbage, winter and summer, okra, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, radishes, roasting ears, etc., all in abundance, are here raised, for the benefit of those who are here to be fed and cared for.
     The average number of inmates on the farm has heretofore been between 45 and 50, but from present indications, there is a prospect of a large increase, there being now a larger number cared for than during any former summer. They may be classified as follows, insane, epileptic (and it is not a proper place for either), senile, disabled and women and children, who, though sound in body, are without the means of support, other than that derived from public activity. This care, therefore, involves the exercise of the soundest judgment, and their control, the rarest discretion. There, of course, exists the murmurings and exactions incident to such conditions, but wise and beneficent rule, brings fault-finding to its minimum, and I much doubt if as little obtains in any institution of the kind anywhere. The present year, so much of it, as is int he past, has been a trying one to the management, as accommodations have been taxed to their utmost capacity, indeed they have been overtaxed, for there has not been sufficient room for the comfortable shelter of more than three-fourths of the number that have been here, and yet none are turned away, and as best as could be done, all have been cared for. Cleanliness of room and bedding, and healthfulness in the quality and preparation of the food set before them, is the rule, and nothing contrary is allowed, as the watchful eye of the superintendent, ever on the alert, is quick to detect and as quickly corrects any departure from this rule. Indeed, all his rules are enforced with that degree of firmness that commands obedience, and yet, with such reason and beneficience, as always meets with acquiescence. His solicitude for those trusted to his care amounts to anxiety, and oftentimes, there are self-imposed duties that need not be performed by him, as there are others to discharge them, without incurring personal danger. On one occasion, it is known, that he bathed a small-pox patient, he not being an immune, and that, too, not farther than 75 yards from his residence, wherein dwelt and, were at that time, a part of his family, wife and daughter, two grown and unmarried, and a little girl of tender years. Another instance of his watchful consideration may be given. Awakening during the unprecedented snow storm of last winter, severer than any that has fallen in Texas for years, at one o'clock at night, himself an invalid, and finding the conditions to be such as might involved suffering to the aged, infirm and weak-minded confined in the asylum, he got up, and through the darkness, the cold and the snow, repaired to where they lodged, and that too, at the risk of his own life, rebuilt the fires, replenished their bedding and stayed by and with them until their comfort was assured. These facts are given, not as exceptions to his rule of conduct, and I am thus explicit in personality, because upon those who ought to know better, and whose duty it is to know better, I would impress the further fact that the county farm of Dallas county is no black hole of Calcutta, but a blessing and a benediction. The highest tribute to the work of Capt.. Burgess is that this farm is so regarded as a novel county farm throughout the state that he has, at the request of the authorities of other counties, been sent for and visited their farms, that they might be benefited by his experience by seeing their sand then making suggestions as to existing evils and future improvements in administration, and besides, he is often in receipt of letters from others seeking to know his modes and methods of management, and finally, when the first state convention of County Superintendents was organized, he was unanimously elected without solicitation or opposition, its president. I would not trench on sacred ground, but I cannot refrain from recording the fact, that in all those sweeter and tender services, those which man cannot and woman only can perform, Mrs. Burgess, assisted as she has been in the past, by her two noble unmarried daughters, Misses Laura and Viola, fills out all deficiencies and perfect the management, their appearance being ever a healing and their ministrations a benediction.
     From the above, I now make the following suggestion:
     In the first place, provision should be made at the earliest possible moment for more room, for as the merits of this institution are known, the demand for more extensive accommodations increased, there being on this account, twenty-five per cent more in this year's attendance than there has ever been at any former period, and with increasing population, this percentage will correspondingly increase.
     Second, there should be a local physician--a house surgeon, as he is known in the hospitals of the county, and this will involve no greater increase of expenses than that full compensation will be made therefore, by an enhancement of the benefit derived from the increase of efficiency in the medical administration. This addition to the medical staff should be auxiliary and subordinate to the control of the physician and surgeon in charge. And, there is many a young man of strong faith, full of hope and high ambition, who, after four years' course in college, under the most eminent teachers, fresh from that wonder of the age, the evolutions of the laboratory, familiar with the latest inventions of surgical instruments and appliances and with their use, with experience in the treatment of diseases, some of which are seldom met with in the general practice, save in the large cities acquired in his attendance upon the clinics, a part of his collegiate course, whose services might be secured to the great benefit of those requiring medical attention. And, this is submitted as a necessity that each case may be studied, for instance, that respiration and temperature may be daily taken and recorded as is done in other hospitals, that heart action may be watched so that complications that arise in the aged and in loss of vital force, the suffering incident thereto, may be at least alleviated.
     Third. Here it has been demonstrated that a school may be maintained, and the little ones may be gathered together and taught, at least, the elementary branches, and who knows what thirst for knowledge may thereby be inspired, and what foundations for useful lives may thereby be laid. It is, therefore, urged that effort be made, if possible, to secure the services of a teacher, one who is trained as such, and who proposes to make it his life work, that the greatest good may be attained.
     Fourth. Here is a field for the Christian worker, the Kings Daughters, the Westminster and Epworth Leagues, Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, Young People's Baptist union, the Home Missionary societies of the various and all denominations may all here find opportunity for work on the lines of intellectual development and moral improvement.
     This communication would be incomplete as a record of facts did it now give honor to whom honor is due, the commissioners' court of Dallas county, for what they have done for this institution, all noble men whose official conduct, I can verify, will shine all the brighter for having been subjected to the fiery oracle of investigation and criticism.

- September 13, 1903, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 16, col. 1-4.
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Dallas Ladies Submit Report to
County Commissioners.

     The subjoined communication from the Willing Gleaners, a charitable organization of Dallas ladies, addressed to the commissioners' court, was found by a reporter stuck away in a file, where it had evidently been since the matter was handed into the court, as Commissioner Cochran, when asked if they had taken any action on the matter, replied that he had never seen it before. When he had read the communication, however, he expressed himself as being ready and willing to co-operate with the ladies of the Willing Gleaners, in an effort to do anything that would be of benefit to the poor unfortunates confined in the county poor farm.
     Especially, did he believe that immediate attention should be given to that part of the communication wherein the attention of the court is called to the fact that buildings at the poor farm should be equipped with screens and stated that he would bring the matter up at the first meeting of the court. While the report has not been filed as yet, it will no doubt serve to call the attention of the tax payers to the fact that Dallas county, the richest county in the state, was not making proper arrangements to take care of the poor unfortunates who are forced through misfortune to spend their declining days at the poor farm.

The Communication.
     The communication from the ladies composing the committee from the Willing Workers, is as follows:
     "Dallas, Tex., June 11, 1906.
     "Messrs. Cochran, and Gentlemen of the County Commissioners' Court:      We, a committee of ladies of the Willing Gleaners, have, with your permission, recently made a visit to the county poor farm. A visit to a place of that kind, generally, has a tendency to make one more grateful for the blessings that they enjoy and impresses one with a desire to do all in their power to relieve the distress they see there. We found that there were many little things that we could do, such as getting second-hand clothing, needles, thread, thimbles, spectacles, magazines and Bibles. But, the most important need of all is that of screens, as you will no doubt agree. There are poor old women confined to their beds and the flies eating them alive. We, therefore, beg of you to give this subject your kindest consideration. We were surprised to see nine poor insane people in the gaol. The guard said they had written the state insane asylum, but were informed that they had no room. It does not seem very long ago since the daily papers gave an account of a new insane asylum having been completed, and stated that Texas had ample room for her insane. We hope you will not think it presumptuous in us to ask for your sympathy and aid. Respectfully yours.
     "Committee on Poor Farm Investigation."

- June 24, 1906, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. II, p. 4, col. 3.
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General Suggestions are Made for the Betterment of the System of Government -- Juvenile
Courts are Favored.

     The grand jury adjourned this afternoon, submitting to the court, a long report.
The County Poor Farm.
     We visited the county poor farm and found Mr. W. D. King, a very efficient man for the place, in charge. There were 44 inmates, 8 of which were demented. There were 8 in the jail and one girl, about 14 years old, who was in charge of one of the inmates of the hospital. The others were composed of old people, who were not able to work, some of them needing nurses, and were waited on by other inmates.
     We recommend that some healthy person be appointed to act as night nurse to give the medicine to the sick under the direction of the doctor, as there are no inmates competent to fill such position. We found about 15 milk cows, 20 hogs and 8 mules, all in good condition. All of the buildings and outhouses we found seemed to be in good condition and well kept, under the circumstances. However, the buildings being constructed entirely of wood, with the exception of the jail, leaving the inmates helpless in case of fire, we recommend the construction of substantial fire proof buildings, jail and hospitals, with sanitary closets, bath room and floors of such material as can be kept scrubbed clean. Buildings to be similar to state institutions for similar purposes; buildings to be lighted with artificial light of approved kind so there will be no danger of fire. We learn that none of the inmates of the poor farm are able to do farm work, and that the expense of running the farm is much greater than the income, and recommend that the three hundred odd acres, lying east of the Houston and Texas Central railroad, be sold, and the money used in making permanent improvements on the thirty odd acres lying west of the Houston and Texas Central railway, for the poor of Dallas county. We recommend that the legislature pass a law to establish a court to try the juvenile criminals separate from the regular criminal court and county court, which are over crowded with other business. We find that Mr. King is the right man in the right place, and by doing away with the extra acreage, he would have time to do more for those who most need his attention. We also recommend that a suitable building, with more room, be provided for the superintendent.
     We especially acknowledge the competent service of Mr. King, superintendent of the poor farm, and his good wife, who favored us with a most elaborate dinner made up from her own garden. The sentiment of the entire jury was voiced by LeRoy Vendig, son of one of our members, when asked to have something more, he answered that it would be impossible, as he had already eaten all he could hold. On retiring from the sumptuous feast, we were delighted with seeing the most beautiful twins looking through the window, as though they were in a frame. They were the daughters of Mr. and Mrs. King. We also acknowledge the courtesies extended by Mr. Webster in entertaining the jury at Club Lake on the afternoon of our visit to the county farm.

- June 30, 1906, Dallas Daily Times Herald,
p. 1, col. 1-2; continued on p. 6, col. 1-2.
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Commissioner Declares Poor Farm
Will Yield Enough Gravel to Pay
Cost of Addition to Courthouse

     Enough gravel to build a twelve-story courthouse, if an addition of size is needed, can be dug from the 350 acres of land owned by the county on the Hutchins road, and which was formerly a part of the county poor farm, it was said here Saturday by County Commissioner G. W. Ledbetter.
     A preliminary survey was made during the week by Commissioner Ledbetter and Commissioner J. W. Gill. The survey showed enough gravel on the farm to make a complete survey advisable.
     The farm has a total of 350 acres, and since the preliminary survey has been completed, Commissioner Ledbetter is of the opinion that the entire farm is a rich deposit of a fine grade of building sand and road gravel.
     More than 200 acres of the deposit have been proved. The commissioners found that the fine grade of building sand covered 200 acres to a depth of three feet, and that below this, was a grade of gravel which extended to a depth of eight feet. The gravel deposit is at least twenty feet thick, according to the belief of Commissioner Ledbetter, and the complete survey of the farm will determine this depth.

$1 a Cubic Yard.
     The current price for building sand and gravel ranges from $1 per cubic yard upward, in the ground.
     Commissioner Ledbetter will ask the County Commissioners court to authorize the survey.
     The fact that the old "poor farm" has developed into a "rich farm," was brought out by Commissioner Ledbetter when talk of selling the land was broached recently in commissioners' court. The land was worth around $200 per acre at that time, and Commissioner Ledbetter said Saturday that, in his opinion, the land was worth not less than $500 per acre at this time.
     The poor farm adjoins a rich deposit of gravel on the north, to which a spur line has been built, and when talk of selling the farm was first raised in the court, Commissioner Ledbetter expressed belief that the gravel deposit on the adjoining place, which is one of the richest gravel pits in the county, extended across the county land.
     His preliminary survey has proved that his theory is partly right.
     Commissioner Ledbetter, last week, suggested that the county might market the gravel and use proceeds to build an eight-story addition to the present courthouse. His belief was not shared by other members of the court, but Commissioner Gill, in whose district the farm lands is situated, helped him with the preliminary survey and says that there is enough gravel on the farm to build a twelve-story building, if necessary.

- February 1, 1925, Dallas Times Herald, Sec. I, p. 6, col. 3-4.
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Two Hospital
Sites Offered

Parkland and Convales-
cent Home Suggested
for Mental Unit.

     Tender of a site for the proposed State Psychopathic Hospital or, the Convalescent Home at Hutchins, is favored by County Judge F. H. Alexander and at least two of the four County Commissioners, they said Wednesday.
    The State already has appropriated funds to build the hospital at Dallas and maintain it for two years. But, no appropriation was made for purchasing a site. Dallas must provide this.
     Judge Alexander, who presides over the lunacy court, and who long has favored erection of a psychopathic hospital here, said he would be glad to vote as a member of the County Commissioners' Court that the State be offered any site available on hospital properties partly owned by the county. If none of these sites is acceptable by the State, the County Judge thinks that the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, or some other organization or individuals, should immediately provide a site that is acceptable.
     He thinks that part of the Parkland Hospital grounds would be suitable for the new institution.
     Extensive grounds will not be needed by the institution, in Judge Alexander's opinion, because persons afflicted with mental disorders who require large grounds in which to take physical exercise as part of their treatment would be sent to asylums. But, the Judge is eager to provide a location for the hospital that will be wholly acceptable to the State.
     County Commissioners J. W. Gill and George Ledbetter favor the plan to tender a site for the institution on the grounds of the Hutchins home or Parkland, they said.
     Immediate treatment of mental cases would, in many instances, obviate the necessity of sending the patient to an insane asylum, Judge Alexander pointed out. The psychopathic hospital would provide such treatment.
     The Parkland and the Hutchins home properties are both owned jointly by the city and county, and the two governments would, of course, have to acquiesce if sites on these properties are offered for the new hospital.

- June 13, 1929, Dallas Morning News, Sec. II, p. 1, col. 4.
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Sheriff and Jailer Both Declare
Undertaking Too Costly; En-
largement Urged

     Conditions in the county jail, crowded with more than 200 prisoners over its capacity and presenting a situation fraught with possibility of a riot or jailbreak at any time, will engage the attention of the County Commissioners' court this week.
     The court will have presented to it a plan devised by Commissioner W. C. Lemmon calling for establishment of a county farm on a 450-acre tract of land owned by the county near Hutchins. His idea is to assign prisoners given short jail terms to this farm, where they could be put to work raising fruit and garden truck.
     Such a county prison farm could be made self-sustaining, in the opinion of Commissioner Lemmon. He will propose that county Agricultural Agent A. J. Jolly be placed in charge and supervise the custody and work of the prisoners. A jailhouse for the prisoner-workers could be erected on the farm at a nominal cost, Mr. Lemmon believes.
     The sheriff, jailers, district attorney and most members of the commissioners' court are convinced that some steps must be taken immediately to relieve the crowded condition of the county jail.

Jail Too Crowded.
     At present, there are 450 prisoners in the jail. Its capacity is 250 and the overflow makes it necessary for prisoners to sleep in the runways of the corridors and on the floor in the "gallows deck" on the top floor.
     Captain Jack Gorman, county jailer, believes the cost of maintaining a county prison farm would be too great. He pointed to the number of guards that would be required to keep the prisoners at work and guard against their escape.
     "The thing to do, I believe," Captain Gorman said, "is to build additional tiers of cells in the present jail. We have several floors on which these cells could be built and this would take care of from 200 to 300 additional prisoners."
     Sheriff Hal Hood, too, believes the best thing to do is to enlarge the cell quarters in the jail. Quartering of prisoners on a county farm would entail the hiring of a large corps of extra help, the sheriff pointed out.

Opposes "Chain Gang."
     District Attorney William McCraw said he would oppose any movement to re-establish the road chain gang. He said the public, in view of current conditions and the general employment situation, would not tolerate the competition of prison labor with free labor.
     All officials, however, admit the crowded condition of the county jail is one that demands immediate attention. With the probability of an increase in crime during the winter months, and with another federal court term approaching, jailers in the county jail face the possibility of having to house 600 prisoners this winter.
     Captain Gorman revealed that city official shave been dickering with him to take care of the prisoners now at work on the city prison farm. He said city officials are anxious to abandon the city farm because of the tremendous cost of maintaining it.
     "I don't see how we can take care of these additional prisoners," Captain Jack said. "Unless the commissioners' court takes some steps to give us more cell space, the city and perhaps the federal government, may have to take care of their own prisoners."
     The following statement was issued by District Attorney William McCraw, in connection with the crowded condition of the county jail:
     "Relief of the crowded condition of the Dallas county jail cannot be accomplished with any measure of economy by road work. Convict labor with the necessity of close guard, transportation or the constant erection of temporary shelters makes this type of labor too expensive to merit serious consideration. Of the six hundred men who will likely be confined in the 250-capacity Dallas county jail this winter, 300 will be available for work under county direction.
     "A large farm offers the best means of caring for convicts. At a low cost, they may raise a goodly portion of their food. today, the state penitentiary farms are raising 76 per cent of what they eat. This could be done in Dallas county. Chairman Simmons, of the state penitentiary, has worked out a farm system for state convicts that is amazing in its simplicity and its effectiveness. The reduction of escapes, the health of the inmates and their general reform, is amazing.
     "A survey of the state systems and a conference with Mr. Simmons and his associates would be quite helpful and point the way to a permanent disposition of convicts that would insure work to employ their minds and energy with some measure of economy."

- September 13, 1931, Dallas Daily Times Herald,
Section II, p. 3, col. 4, continued on page 3, col. 4.
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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, Dallas Morning News, Anniversary Edition, Section VII, p. 16.
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Added November 1, 2004:





No Need for Alarm, Say Health
Chiefs as New Cases in
County Reported

     Hoping to prevent further spread of infantile paralysis in Dallas and Dallas County, following the latest outbreak in the City-County Boys' Industrial Home near Hutchins, a meeting of the city health advisory board will be held Thursday to discuss steps to be taken against the malady, Dr. J. W. Bass, city health director, announced Tuesday.
     Three boys had been moved from the industrial home to Parkland Hospital, where it was reported they were suffering from infantile paralysis.
     Two other wards of the industrial home were in strict isolation, considered to be additional possible infantile paralysis victims, and the remaining forty-five inmates were carefully divided into two dormitory groups.
     Because no symptoms of infection had been observed in one dormitory housing twenty-five boys, and the other dormitory had produced three actual victims and two cases for observation, they two groups were kept strictly isolated.

Won't Ask Probe.
     Dr. H. E. Duncan, county health officer, said that it was only two and one-half days after one of the boys, aged 14 years, had been released from Parkland Hospital, that he was returned Monday afternoon for infantile paralysis treatment, accompanied by two other victims from the home, aged 9 and 11 years.
     Both Duncan and County Judge Ben H. Fly denied that they will demand an investigation of the reason the older boy was released from observation at the hospital, only to be returned suffering from the disease.
     Dr. E. M. Dunstan, head of the city-county hospital system, declared that the victim did not have infantile paralysis at the time he was released. "Although, I did not actually observe the case." Duncan said, "I studied the charts on it at the time. I have full faith in the several doctors who observed the boy."
     "I am at the mercy of Parkland Hospital," Duncan said.

Didn't Show Paralysis.
     "I don't think that the boy's premature release from Parkland had anything to do with infection of the other two boys at the home," declared Fly, who is county juvenile judge.
     "If I had only been able to observe the case, I wouldn't be in such a position," Duncan said. "The charts showed that the boy was not an obvious sufferer from anterior poliomyelitis, which is infantile paralysis. However, I never heard of the case until I was informed from the hospital that the boy was under observation there. The next I heard, was that he had been released."
     "One of the three boys is from a family evidently peculiarly susceptible to the disease," Duncan revealed. "A brother of his, who was stricken seven years ago, is now recovering from an operation for partial removal of his disabilities. That boy was an inmate of the home for about five months before he underwent the operation."
     No one is allowed to enter or leave the boys' home, and the two boys under observation are closely watched, Duncan said. He pointed out that all three paralysis victims have been at the boys' home for at least several months each.
     "I am not at all alarmed by the situation in Dallas," said Dr. Bass, "but, in preparation for the opening of school, I want to confer with the health board and see that all the necessary precautions are taken."
     Twenty-three cases of infantile paralysis have been reported in Dallas this year, more than any year since 1927. Dr. Bass estimated that probably sixty cases could be expected. Ten of the patients found had either come recently to Dallas, or had been away from the city on extended visits.
     "We quarantine every home where a case is found," said Dr. Bass, "for a period of three weeks, and we trace the recent history of every patient, in an effort to discover the possible source of infection. I am doing everything I can to hold the disease in check, but perhaps the health board members will have something else to suggest."
     Dr. J. L. Goforth is chairman of the board.

- August 10, 1937, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. II, p. 1, col. 5.
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     The City-County Convalescent Home Friday held open house in recognition of National Hospital Day, and the Willing Workers' Club presented a program.
     The Lancaster band, thirty-five pieces, gave a concert during the morning, and Boy Scout Troop 78 visited all sick wards and sang Scout songs for the 250 inmates of the home during the afternoon.
     Mrs. E. W. Hein, head of the Willing Workers, was co-hostess with Mrs. O. B. Colquitt, Mrs. Ed Vandervort, Mrs. M. A. Blecker, Mrs. J. B. Eichlitz and Mrs. L. C. Smith.
     Dedication of a cactus bed and 200-tree orchard donated to the Convalescent Home by the Melodie Club and Willing Workers' Club, respectively, will be held Wednesday, the same day the Willing Workers will present a May pageant at Sam Houston School.

- May 14, 1939, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. I, p. 14, col. 7-8.
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Homes of Tuberculars,
Old Folk Need Repairs,
And More Attendants


Woodlawn, Hutchins Institutions
Operate on Starvation Budgets

Editor's Note -- This is the third, in a series of articles dealing
with the problems confronting the city-county hospital structure.

     Out on the Hutchins road, fifteen miles from its parent, Parkland Hospital, is the City-County Convalescent Home.
     It is a fire-trap.
     Remarkably clean for all of its antiquity, the old institution, once the site of the old county prison, is badly in need of repair -- not to mention, a general reconditioning.
     Wells provide the water, which is pumped into an elevated tank near a state of collapse. The water pressure isn't too strong, and fire-fighting apparatus is nil.
     Fire extinguishers are scattered throughout the buildings, but there is only one fire escape on a building where inmates are confined, above the first floor.
     Blind, bed-ridden and aged are on some of those second floors. The institution, itself, is far outside of a fire protection zone. Dallas County fire equipment would have a long ride to the Convalescent Home.
     One hundred and thirty-eight inmates are housed at the institution, and you just try not to think about the possibilities of fire as you roam the old buildings -- some dating back to 1908.
     Tumble-down shacks house some of the Negro inmates, and some of the white men live in a barn-like structure.
     But, what there is of the Convalescent Home is well kept, and the administration is excellent. Grounds are spotless and rooms and equipment are clean.
     For the first time in several years, the Convalescent Home is getting a fresh paint job. The interiors are being done in a cheery white. The outside of most of the buildings haven't been touched since construction. Now, there are fresh daubs of paint.
     Most urgent need is for a new water tower, tank and pumps. One estimated cost set the figure at $12,000.
     Only a year ago, William Henry Walsh, famed hospital consultant, who has since died, made an exhaustive survey of the grounds and recommended:
     "The water system is in a dangerous condition, and although the wells from which the supply is secured appear to be adequate, the pumping system and storage tanks are in very bad condition and should be replaced by new equipment."

More Help Needed.
     The sewage system isn't the best, operated through a septic tank, but it seems to be functioning properly at the moment.
     Just as everywhere else in the City-County Hospital System, there is need for more and better help at Convalescent Home. The salaries paid at the institution are astoundingly low -- one hitting the basement at $10 per month.
     Nevertheless, the morale is good. Attendants are courteous to the aged, infirmed and crippled, and do their jobs efficiently. The employees seem attached to the institution through respect for the administrators.
     Recent requests for a frame building to house Negro inmates were rejected when the city and county were unable to agree on the $5,000 item. The city and county, as will be explained later, operate the system on a 50-50 basis.

Woodlawn Hospital Dreary.
     Dreariest of all the city-county hospitals is Woodlawn, on the Harry Hines Boulevard -- the haven for tuberculosis patients.
     One of the board of managers bluntly said Woodlawn facilities were totally inadequate, and suggested, that if funds, long sought, could not be obtained for improvements, that it would almost be better to abandon the institution.
     Fire hazards, also, are great at Woodlawn. The brick building housing women patients has a crumbling floor. One side of the building wall has pulled outward, and is temporarily supported by pillars. Cracks are prominent in the walls.
     The wooden structure housing the men provides an environment that is anything but conducive to recovery. The shingled roof on the old frame building makes it a greater fire hazard.
     Fire-fighting equipment is badly out of condition.

Badly in Need of Repair.
     Nothing about the place reminds of modern methods of treating tuberculosis. Walls are badly in need of paint, some screens are sagging and broken, and the old buildings, unless completely renovated and reconditioned, have just about served their usefulness as a housing place for the sick.
     Woodlawn Hospital, although administered as well as possible under terrific handicaps, is certainly no show place for the city and county of Dallas.
     Dr. Walsh's last survey of the hospital system commented:
     "The medical superintendent sorely needs an assistant, and we are convinced, that if more intensive professional attention could be given to these patients, their stay in the institution would be reduced, and a greater number of patients cared for."
     At present, there are 125 beds in the hospital.
     Tuberculosis in Dallas County is a serious menace, competing right along with its ugly brother in disease, venereal diseases, and beds for at least 400 tuberculosis patients should be provided.

Emergency Relief Needed.
     Some day, Dallas, if it does not tear down Woodlawn and erect a real institution to fight tuberculosis, should rehabilitate the Woodlawn institution and start with the erection of a combined infirmary, administration building and children's ward.
     The $1.34 daily allowance per patient is amazingly, if not disgracefully, low, experts agree. The state sanitorium has a $2 daily allowance, and that is considered low for the proper care of tuberculosis patients.
The Woodlawn Hospital is in dire need of emergency relief to improve its physical equipment. It is a grave matter.
     But, once again, you get right back to the lack of funds that keeps the City-County Hospital System handcuffed.

- December 17, 1941, The Dallas Morning News,
Sec. II, p. 1, col. 1-2; continued @ Sec. II, p. 15, col. 7.
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