Many times unexpected treasures appear when exploring an old building. Such was the case in 2012 when Dave and Sarah Scott purchased an antique store housed in a former local hospital. There in the corners and unexplored rooms, many items formerly used in the early hospital were discovered.
At the present time, Dave and Sarah have dedicated one room of their Scott’s 10th St. Antique Mall to a place called St. Francis Hospital Museum. Nearly all of the items in the room are from the original hospital, having been found in the corners of the building. Dave Scott, owner, stands beside some of the medical equipment used during the days of St Francis Hospital. The crutches in the background were found in a room in the basement while exploring the building.Only two items, a wheel chair and a bed, have been purchased and both were from the same time period as when St. Francis Hospital was in operation.
Back in 1922, this medical center began when the Wells Hospital opened its doors on 10th Street in Cambridge, Ohio. This was a much needed addition to the city at that time and Dr. Henry L. Wells dedicated it to his parents. Dr. Wells was a tireless and modest physician whose feelings were summarized when he said, “I feel very highly rewarded with the respect and confidence that the community seems to have in me.”
The Order of St. Francis Nuns began operating that same facility in 1945 as St Francis Hospital. After WWII was over, Dr. Paul Huth arrived in the area and took over as head surgeon at the hospital. The hospital received a boost in 1957 when Cambridge Glass Company selected St. Francis Hospital for all hospitalization of workers needing medical attention. All emergency cases were to be sent to the hospital as well, with Dr. Paul Huth named as company physician.
An old poster features familiar faces in our local medical world encouraging people to give to the blood bank…at that time a Walking Blood Bank. Dr. Paul Huth, the hospital director is shown with Edith Spade while Dr. Joseph Utrata is being assisted by Twila Thacker. Both Miss Spade and Miss Thacker served the community as nurses until recent years.
A visitor at the museum stated that he had been born in the hospital, and maybe even in the room where the museum stands. He remembered stories of the early hospital days as well as the doctors who cared for the patients. Area residents remember that at that time appendectomies were as popular as knee replacements are today. So he smiled when remarking, “If you came in for an ingrown toenail, chances are you would not leave before having an appendectomy.”
An interesting hospital bill hangs on the wall. It shows the costs for everything needed during the hospital stay. One surprising item was the cost of the room. The patient was there for seven days at $4 a day for a total room charge of $28. How times have changed!
St. Francis Hospital was finally closed in 1968 with the opening of a larger, more modern facility, Guernsey Memorial Hospital. Today that hospital has been further improved and modernized and is now called Southeastern Medical Center of Ohio.
If perhaps, you have any knowledge of St. Francis Hospital or pieces of its history that you would care to share with future generations, please contact Dave or Sarah Scott at their 10th Street Antique Mall. Who knows what could develop here?
The St. Francis Hospital Museum is located in the Scott’s 10th St Antique Mall in downtown Cambridge. There is easy access as Cambridge is at the crossroads of I-70 and I-77. Wheeling Avenue is their main street and the museum is just a half block south of Wheeling Avenue on 10th Street.