The second hospital on pages 130 and 131 of the 1924 city directory (see Part 1) was Southwestern Hospital:
Southwestern Hospital was located downtown at the corner of Lamar and West 6th streets.
The 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.
As 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 Protestant Sanitarium of Dr. Amos C. Walker, said to have been Fort Worth’s first private hospital in 1901, was located at the corner of Main Street and Railroad Avenue (Vickery Boulevard). The sanitarium was housed in the former home of General J. J. Byrne. 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.
Dr. Johnson would have a long career in Fort Worth. In addition to operating his sanitarium, Dr. Johnson served, like Dr. Thompson, as a 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.
A 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.
An 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.
In 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.)
By 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.
But Southwestern Hospital was short-lived. In 1928 it was demolished.
Rising 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.
Dr. Clay Johnson died in 1948.
Dr. Johnson is buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
Hospitals After St. Joseph’s: Benefits, Bealls, and Baby Davy (Part 3)