Millinocket's Early Hospitals
Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Society Museum
Millinocket had several doctors serving the community from the early days. Its first hospital was started in 1920 when Dr. Charles Bryant returned from WWI. He, as was often done in that time period, opened his private hospital on the corner of Highland Avenue and Central Street. The house had been built prior by a Dr. Cody as his home and office. The Bryant Hospital had eight beds, an operating room and an X-ray machine.
The Bryant home/hospital was also shared by the Frank Bowler family for a time as their residence. Dorothy (Bowler) Laverty, Millinocket historian and author of the book Millinocket, Magic City of Maine’s Wilderness, states that she, a child, was one of the hospital’s first patients. An appendectomy was needed and the GNP company doctor was summoned from Bangor (by train). The surgery was performed with Dorothy lying on an ironing board in the bathroom! That was the first surgery to occur in the Bryant Hospital!
Mill accident cases were mostly sent on stretchers in the baggage cars of the B & A to Old Town where they were transferred to the Maine Central RR for the rest of the trip to Bangor.
Dr. Bryant died in 1938 and in that year Millinocket General Hospital opened on Maine Avenue in the former Curran house. The doctors there were Dr. Ernest Young and Dr. Martin Grumley. Also in 1938, Dr. Lloyd Morey opened the Morey Osteopathic Hospital at location of the former Bryant Hospital and ran it for several years. Two nurses Mrs. Ted Ames and Mrs. Everett Wyman who had worked at the Bryant Hospital, opened their own private lying-in hospitals. That was a common occurrence in the 1930’s and 40’s.
By the late 1940’s talk began about establishing a community hospital. Over time, funds were raised (GNP, local residents, government programs) and construction finally began in 1954. The Millinocket Community Hospital opened March, 1955 with a permanent staff of physicians. Today, Millinocket Regional Hospital serves the community and area medical needs.
The museum has in its collection signs from Dr. Morey’s hospital and Millinocket General Hospital, Dr. Young’s baby scale and a lot more from the town’s medical history!