Hospitals After St. Joseph’s: Benefits, Bealls, and Baby Davy (Part 2)

The second hospital on pages 130 and 131 of the 1924 city directory (see Part 1) was Southwestern Hospital:

hospitals top 24 cd adSouthwestern Hospital was located downtown at the corner of Lamar and West 6th streets.

southwestern 06 johnsonThe Southwestern Hospital story begins with Dr. Clay Johnson. In 1906 the Telegram announced that Dr. Johnson would move from Corsicana to Fort Worth and form a partnership with Dr. Frank D. Thompson.

southwestern 07 cdAs Drs. Thompson and Johnson opened their Drs. Thompson & Johnson Sanitarium in 1907, Fort Worth was undergoing a population boom spurred, in large part, by the Stockyards and packing plants. A population of about sixty-eight thousand people was served by these few health-care facilities.

The small hospital of the medical college of Fort Worth University was downtown. All Saints Episcopal Hospital (see Part 1) was on Magnolia Avenue. (Note the three- and four-digit phone numbers.)

scott protestant sanitriumThe Protestant Sanitarium of Dr. Amos C. Walker, said to have been Fort Worth’s first private hospital, was located at the corner of Main Street and Railroad Avenue (Vickery Boulevard). It would burn in the South Side fire of 1909.

St. Joseph’s Infirmary (1883) was Fort Worth’s first general hospital.

Dr. Thompson, in addition to his partnership with Dr. Johnson, served as local surgeon for the Texas & Pacific, St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt), and International & Great Northern railroads. Dr. Thompson also was on the faculty of the medical college.

southwestern johnson makers of fort worthDr. Johnson would have a long career in Fort Worth. In addition to operating his sanitarium, Dr. Johnson served as local surgeon for the Texas & Pacific and St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt) railroads. His wife Alice was a sister of Governor Beauford Jester. In 1912 the Johnsons would build one of the finest houses in Chase Court. In 1915 Dr. Johnson was elected president of the school board.

Dr. Johnson over the next few years would have other partners in his sanitarium, including Dr. J. H. McLean and Drs. Frank C. Beall and Khleber (as in Khleber Miller Van Zandt) Heberden Beall, sons of Dr. Elias James Beall, a founder and staff member of the medical college and a co-founder of the Protestant Sanitarium.

southwestern 10 lamar at 6th sanbornA 1910 Sanborn fire map shows the Johnson Sanitarium. Next door was St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church. The buildings labeled “D” were dwellings. Downtown still contained many single-family houses.

southwestern 11 johnson med adAn ad in the December 1911 Texas State Journal of Medicine (published in Fort Worth) shows a handsome building with a capacity of thirty patients. Mildred Bridges was superintendent of the sanitarium.

southwestern 16 new buildingIn 1916 Dr. Johnson, by then partnered with the Beall brothers, built a new building on the site, designed by Wiley G. Clarkson. (Clarkson, also from Corsicana, was related to Dr. Johnson by marriage.)

southwestern 23-24 cdBy 1923 the sanitarium was “Clay Johnson Hospital. ” But in 1924 Dr. Johnson sold his hospital and opened a practice in the Neil P. Anderson Building. The Clay Johnson Hospital became “Southwestern Hospital.” Mildred Bridges remained as superintendent.

southwestern 27-29 lamarBut Southwestern Hospital was short-lived. In 1928 it was demolished.

southwestern todayRising in 1929-1930 from the site on which stood Dr. Johnson’s sanitarium and adjacent St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church were the Electric Building and its annex, which housed the Hollywood Theater.

southwestern 48 johnson obitDr. Clay Johnson died in 1948.

johnson graveDr. Johnson is buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
Hospitals After St. Joseph’s: Benefits, Bealls, and Baby Davy (Part 3)

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2 Responses to Hospitals After St. Joseph’s: Benefits, Bealls, and Baby Davy (Part 2)

  1. Mildred Brown says:

    I have looked everywhere for years for this information. I have an 8X20 photo taken 8/2/19 of nurses and doctors posing outside along the street in front of Johnson and Beall Hospital. My great-aunt Mildred Bridges bought the hospital!! I have two chairs from the hospital. The tenth of twelve children she was an independent person ahead of her time and well-respected, capable nurse.

    • hometown says:

      Glad to be of help. I was born in Harris, and my parents worked at All Saints and Cook, so I enjoyed researching the early hospitals that are lesser known today. I’d love to add your photo to the post (with credit to you) if you have a way to scan it.

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