Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Hastings Hospital

by Judy (Wemer) Chamberlain

Dr. Jenks hopital building in the 1960s.

If you have taken a trip down Olinda Avenue lately, you may have noticed that something is missing on the south side of the street. For more years than I can remember, a small, old wood and stucco structure stood empty and somewhat neglected. At first I thought it was just an old garage but when I asked about it, I was told that at one time it was a hospital. It seemed kind of small for a hospital. But yes, people have admitted to being born there and others told of their visit to get a few stitches, or having an appendix removed, or reverently spoke about how a family member stayed there while recovering from the influenza that devastated the country beginning in 1919, just after World War I.

The doctor who was responsible for this hospital was Dr. Gedney Jenks. And though it took him 3 years, Dr. Jenks actually built this hospital with his own hands. The hospital was two stories and fully equipped with wards, an operating room and all the modern appliances of the day.

Dr. Gedney Jenks in uniform, standing in front of his hospital on Olinda.

There is an interesting story about Dr. Jenks that I discovered in an old newspaper clipping. It says: “Dr. Jenks enlisted as a surgeon for overseas service when America entered the war (World War I), but the people of the village petitioned Washington for his return, as they were left without a doctor. He was sent back over his protests.”

Dr. Jenks’ hospital was torn down in December of 2008 and with it, a little piece of history.
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