Today we don't see doctors with their trademark bags visiting homes where people need medical attention. Although doctors in the early days of Hillsdale saw patients in their offices too, "house calls" were common and public hospitals few.
Hillsdale's first hospital was a private institution, known as a sanitarium. It opened in a large home that stood where McCollum Street runs into West Street. Mrs. T.H. Midgley leased it from the Hillsdale School District in 1915. Her lease expired in 1920, and the school district eventually tore down the house and built a new Hillsdale High School on that spot in 1929.
After the close of the sanitarium, a group of concerned citizens petitioned the Hillsdale Common Council to form a public-owned hospital. In January 1921 the Hillsdale City Hospital was opened in the former William Waldron home on North Manning Street, with an addition built in 1931. The "x-ray department" had originally been located in the office of the late Dr. W.H. Sawyer's office above what is now Losey Jewelers. In 1932 it was moved to the Hillsdale City Hospital.
In 1937, after a year-long discussion, Common Council approved participation in a program sponsored by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, to build a new 50-60 bed hospital. A number of local sites were considered and finally an entire city block known as the Lynwood Farm, on Howell Street, was purchased for $13,024. It had a colorful past. Once the site of the Montstaff Manor, it had hosted Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and the Barnum & Bailey circus.
In 1938, a corporation called the Hillsdale Community Health Center was formed and in less than a year the Public Works Administration approved a grant of $111,935 for the building. The cornerstone was laid in March 1939, and with great fanfare the building was dedicated in February of 1940.
JoAnne P. Miller