Last week I shared a few details about some of the hospitals which have been a part of Troy’s history. A couple of you thought I had missed one of the “Big Ones” in not mentioning Dettmer Hospital. Ah, but the catch was Dettmer was not in the city limits. Anyway, I will share a little of that story with you this week.
No one knows exactly who came up with the formula for the famous Royal Baking Powder, but there are many legends. Wait a minute. Baking powder?! I thought we were talking about hospitals. OK, let me back up a little.
Cornelius and Joseph Hoagland lived with their parents and siblings in West Charleston, Ohio in in the 1840’s and 1850’s, but the family later moved to Troy, where the boys, along with a couple other siblings, finished their education.
Cornelius went off to school and studied medicine. He became and a physician, and when the War Between the States started he enlisted and was assigned as the surgeon for the 71st OVI.
Jacob Dettmer, was a clerk in a dry goods store in Troy, and much younger than both of the Hoagland boys, he none-the-less had become acquainted with them, which proved beneficial to his life.
After the war, Cornelius returned home and Joseph had matured, they sought out business ventures and later moved to Ft. Wayne, Indiana and entered into the dry goods business. Following a few years, they bought the rights to a baking powder formula and moved east and began to market the concoction as Royal Baking Powder, and its popularity soared beyond their dreams.
At the time of starting out, the Hoaglands needed a bookkeeper and asked Dettmer to join them. Later, he became the secretary of the incorporated company, which was relocated to Brooklyn. All three of them became immensely wealthy.
Cornelius Hoagland endowed a laboratory for a hospital in New York, but as far as is known, he did not benefit Miami County in any way. Joseph remembered his old home by helping locate the new Troy Public Library in City Hall in 1896. In addition, he also hired a sculptor to cast a bust of Superintendent William N. Edwards, which was then placed in the front entrance of the Edwards school, where it remained for many years until the building was razed. The relief sculpture is now on the north side (exterior) of the Troy-Miami County Public Library, just east of the entryway. So, while Cornelius did not remember his old home, Joseph did extend a philanthropic hand to the area. But, it was Jacob Dettmer who made the largest contribution to the county.
When Jacob Dettmer died in 1934, his will stipulated that the residue funds of his estate were to be given, following provision for his two children and other bequests were paid, Miami County for the construction of a hospital halfway between Troy and Piqua. The will was contested by some of his heirs, but the courts later gave the funds to the county, which amounted to almost $1.25 million
After the voters of Miami County passed a levy in support of constructing the new hospital and a three year operating fund levy, plans were drawn up and, following several delays, the facility was erected and opened to the public 6 December 1953.
Dettmer Hospital was helpful to many residents of the county and helped to relieve the Stouder Memorial Hospital and Piqua Memorial Hospital crowding when their respective census was high from time-to-time. In addition, many residents of the county were born at Dettmer.
At the time, Dettmer Hospital was a new “state-of-the-art” hospital that served the whole county.
It operated as the county medical facility for about 32 years, when it became a part of the merger plan for Upper Valley Medical Center. In fact, the old campus of the Dettmer Hospital was chosen as the site to construct the new facility halfway between Troy and Piqua.
Last year, the final remaining remnant of the original Dettmer Hospital was razed.
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
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