Recently, as I drove by the Kettering Health Network’s Troy Hospital site on West Main Street, my mind wandered and I began to think of the different eras of medical care in Troy and the county. For anyone too young to remember, the current building project will not be Troy’s first hospital.
Many years ago before there was comprehensive health insurance, community doctors would make house calls, care for patients in their own homes, and sometimes, when necessary, even perform surgery in a home, usually on a table large enough to hold the patient.
As the years passed and time moved into the late nineteenth century, individual physicians, and even 2-4 doctors began to form agreements and open small private hospitals, which were managed by them, or a small staff.
Around 1902, Dr. Warren Coleman, grandson of pioneer physician Asa Coleman, opened and operated the Coleman Hospital on W. Water Street in Troy for many years. In addition, Dr. George E. McCullough also opened a small private hospital in Troy about the same time. But, there was one which preceded both of these hospitals, and it was probably the first city hospital.
Roughly ten years prior to the above private hospitals, the owner of a home on North Oxford Street found out the city was discussing the possibility of a city hospital; she made her property available for use. The city paid a monthly rental fee to the owner and Doctors Coleman and Thompson set up and managed the facility. They also had two nurses on staff.
For about six years they administered the medical facility, but by 1899 the city got out of the agreement because there was no money to be made in the operation (No pun intended). It would be almost 30 years before Troy had another public hospital in the community. (Thank you to Rex Maggart for some of this research).
Augustus G. Stouder, Troy philanthropist, and creator of the Troy Foundation and also donor of the seed money for the same, devised the idea for a public hospital in the growing community in the mid-1920’s. He personally committed $200,000 toward the project; the city raised $100,000 through a bond issue, and another $73,000 was raised through funding by the citizens of the Troy.
In September, 1928, The Troy City Hospital (later Stouder Memorial Hospital) opened. The facility was a top-notch medical center from 1928 through 1998, when the doors were closed as part of the merger and opening of Upper Valley Medical Center. Now, 20 years later, Troy is watching a new hospital facility being constructed for its health care needs.
In closing, I would like to share a story, but as I reflect on our history, not only in Troy, but throughout the county, we have been blessed to have medical care nearby for a number of years.
A story which was told to me a number of years ago expresses the assistance which hospitals and doctors rendered to our ancestors, as well as the tough determination of some of our forefathers.
In late 1913, a young lad of 14 years, who helped his grandparents on their farm on Polecat Road, was going about his chores on one particular afternoon when his work was interrupted by a sharp pain in his abdominal area. Under usual circumstances, the young man would have gone to the house and had one of his grandparents bring him into town. But, on this occasion, nobody else was present and any vehicles of transportation were not to be found. The lad knew this was no ordinary upset stomach; rather it was something he had never experienced before. He needed to act.
The story related to me was that his grandparents did not have a telephone on the farm at that time, so he began to walk to Troy, even in his discomfort. He walked from Polecat Road to Dr. Coleman’s hospital on Water Street, and there received emergency treatment for appendicitis.
Years later, in checking the record books of the Coleman Hospital, I found “Entry number 147 — Leo Faust, December 13, 1913; Drained appendial abcess.”
Patrick D. Kennedy is archivist at the Troy-Miami County Public Library’s Local History Library, 100 W. Main St., Troy. He may be contacted by calling (937) 335-4082 or sending an email to email@example.com