The photo you see is of the Robertson County Hospital located on Willow Street where the Robertson County Archives building is now standing. This hospital, our first, was built in 1934 due to the sole effort of Dr. John Freeman and stood until 1956. It was not air conditioned and I remember when entering the front door there were wooden stairs that creaked on every step one took. My mother me there because I had cut my finger very badly. It was noon and everyone was out to lunch! We had to wait.
Before this came about, this location was used as a jail. It was built in 1860 and was used as such until 1915. Then a new jail was built next to it on the corner of 5th Ave. and Willow St. In 1934 the old jail building was remodeled and turned into the Robertson County Hospital. It was demolished in 1956 and a new one, Jesse Holman Jones Hospital, was built on Brown St. This was about the same time period that Memorial Blvd. was finished. Looking at the picture you can tell how proud Robertson County must have been getting a new building like Jesse Holman Jones Hospital. We greatly appreciated the donation from the Jesse Holman Jones Foundation toward our new building on Brown St.
In 1935 the census showed Springfield as being only 6,270 people. Our newest bank was the First National Bank with deposits of only $650,000. Robertson County population was 28,191. Before 1934, anyone needing hospital care had to go to Nashville.
After the new hospital was built on Brown St. the old building on Willow St. was demolished and a new county jail was built. When the new jail was built on Brown St. next to Jesse Holman Jones Hospital, the old jail was remodeled to be used by the Robertson County Archives and is still at that location today.
It's hard to believe that it has only been about 100 years ago that hospitals were not something you would find in every city. In the 1800's and even up until about 1960 doctors made many house calls. People were treated at home for illnesses or in the doctor's offices. I remember hearing about a great uncle who was badly hurt in a car wreck in the 1920's. He was carried to the doctor's office and later died. During the deadly flu years of 1917-18 people didn't go to the hospital but were treated at home. Sometimes, doctors had to use the kitchen table to operate on people. Back in the late 1800's doctors didn't go to school to learn to become a doctor but bought books to learn how to take care of people. About the only operations they did were cutting off legs, arms and some abdomen openings and that was about it. There were many home remedies that were used and many people died of an early age due to a sickness we would consider minor today. By the early 1900's only 5 percent of babies were born in hospitals. By 1910 90 percent of doctors were without a college education. By the time our first hospital was built about 37 percent of babies were born in hospitals.
We are so fortunate to have a great state of the art hospital in Springfield today.