Watkins Sanitarium opened in Troy in 1904

Published 7:20 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2023

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In 1904, the Troy Messenger published a feature article on the new Watkins Sanitarium, founded by Dr. J. M. Watkins.     

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

The latest one of Troy’s enterprises is the Watkins Sanitarium.  Troy, being situated as it is, very high and dry, convenient to all points by rail and some distance from the nearest hospital or sanitarium, now offers to the people of South East Alabama a modern refuge for the sick.  There has been great need of such an institution and it has been left for home enterprise to complete it.

The building, No. 394 North Three Notch Street, is located on perhaps the highest point of the city, but is convenient to the business district and the union station.  It has recently been remodeled especially for the sanitarium and the building could scarcely be better arranged for such an institution.  It is surrounded by a grove of oaks, with a well-kept lawn at the front, and one at the side which is later to be converted into a park for the patient’s use.

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The rooms of the building are large and airy, lighted at night by electricity and sunshine by day.  Everything about them seems so new, clean and comfortable that a feeling of restfulness comes over one at the first sight of them.

The operating room is complete in every respect.  There are gauzes and bandages, and innumerable instruments in dust-proof cases.  The walls are enameled.  The splendid light is furnished by a north and a west window.  Everything about the room seems to aid in making it an ideal room for the purpose  At the entrance of this room is a waiting room, where the patient may be brought in an emergency while the operating room is gotten ready, or  where the friends of the patient may wait during the operation.

There are several large rooms for the patients also on this floor, each being large and roomy and furnished in the neatest method.

Downstairs we find the consulting and examining rooms fitted up with x-ray machines and other apparatus for the a administering of this wonderful remedy, and other instruments for treatment by electricity.

From the first as well as from the second floor an excellent view of the city is to be had, perhaps the prettiest view in the city.

Miss Kilgore, who is a trained nurse of reputation, is head nurse of the sanitarium, the patients at all times being under her watchful care.

D. J. M. Watkins, the proprietor of the sanitarium, who is in  charge of it, is in the prime of life, but is not without years of experience.  He graduated from the Vanderbilt University in 1894, and has been in the active practice of his profession since that time with the exception of one year of study in the Post-Graduate School of New York and the London Hospital.  While abroad he spent many weeks in the hospitals at Edinborough and Paris.  He has established himself here as a successful surgeon and practitioner.

Troy is to be congratulated on having acquired the Watkins Sanitarium, and, judging by the past success of those in charge, we predict for it a brilliant future.

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.