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Hospital History

Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!

By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum

 

In Millinocket’s early days, residents were faced with diseases like typhoid, cholera and smallpox which often reached epidemic levels. “Pest houses” were located in a small building on the way to Stone Dam, one on Water Street and another (two stories) on Medway Road. The Mountain View House (across from park) was used as a temporary hospital and Levasseur’s Boarding House was quarantined due to the number of cases of typhoid. These were Millinocket’s first hospitals.

Dr. Bryant opened the first surgical hospital in 1920. He had medical experience in WWI and thought the town needed a hospital. His private hospital (also his residence) was at the corner of Central Street and Highland Avenue. It had eight beds, operating room and an X-ray machine. Prior to this, all surgical patients and accident victims were transported to a hospital in Old Town via Bangor & Aroostook Railroad on stretchers in the baggage car. Some were transported on to Bangor via the Maine Central Railroad.

When Dr. Bryant died (1937), Dr. Lloyd Morey purchased the building and opened his Morey Osteopathic Hospital in 1938. Located on the first floor, it had three rooms and five beds. The back room was the delivery room and sometimes nursery. The family residence and hospital kitchen were upstairs. For many years, Dr. Morey offered his services free as the Stearns HS sports doctor.

Lying-in hospitals were common in the 1930’s & 40’s. The term refers to the time of bed rest mothers received before and after giving birth. Two local nurses, Mrs. Ted Ames and Mrs. Everett Wyman, who had worked at the Bryant Hospital opened private lying-in hospitals in their homes for a brief period. Mrs. Wyman’s was the Wyman Memorial Hospital, 62 Katahdin Ave. with seven beds. It was at the head of the park.

Dr.  Ernest Young and Dr. Martin Grumley opened Millinocket General Hospital in 1938 and ran it until 1955. It was on Maine Avenue. The museum has the sign.

In the 1940’s discussion began on the need of a larger community hospital. GNP employees, town citizens and others worked together to build a hospital to serve the 8000 people in the area. Construction of the Millinocket Community Hospital began in spring, 1954. After discussing a site off Central Street near Forest Avenue, they chose the Somerset Street location. In March, 1955, the hospital opened and a permanent staff was established. Twelve nurses, a dietician plus kitchen and housekeeping personnel were hired.  There were modern medical and surgical departments plus obstetrics, laboratory and X-ray facilities. Other services and specialties were available. MCH had 32 beds. A 1958 rate schedule lists a private room for a medical/surgical patient was $24.00 a day (included room, meals & general nursing care). This hospital served well until the 70’s, when additions to building and staff continued and the site became Millinocket Regional Hospital. Now, 2024, more changes are in the works!



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