Tag Archives: Georgia Medical History

Burns-Sutton House, 1901, Clarkesville

This Eclectic/Folk Victorian home was built by local master carpenters Rusk and Cornelius Church for Dr. J. K. Burns. Upon Dr. Burns’s death in 1924, the house was inherited by his daughter, Pauline Sutton, wife of Superior Court judge and Clarkesville mayor I. H. Sutton. Later incarnations include a bed and breakfast and law office.

Washington-Jefferson Street Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Vinson’s Pharmacy, 1910, Byron

This structure was built by Dr. Moultrie Warren as a medical office and drug store. It was later home to Vinson’s Pharmacy and then Robertson’s Pharmacy. It has been repurposed today as the Drugstore Deli.

Byron Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Dr. J. B. Kay’s Obstetric Clinic, 1930s, Byron

This unusual structure, essentially two shotgun offices connected by a central hallway, was built circa 1919. Beginning in the 1930s, it was the office and clinic of Dr. James Benjamin Kay (1890-1960) and was the first obstetrics clinic in Georgia. Dr. Kay delivered over 3500 babies during his long career and also practiced general medicine

Byron Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Blackford-Gray House, 1883, Graysville

This Queen Anne home was built by Dr. William T. Blackford (1825-1904) in 1883. For many years, Dr. Blackford maintained his medical practice here, as well. A native Virginian, Dr. Blackford served as a delegate to the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1867, then practiced medicine in Chattanooga before settling in Graysville. Charles A. Gray (1860-1960), a member of the founding family of Graysville, purchased the house from Dr. Blackford’s daughters in 1916. It remained in the Gray family until 1942. It has had numerous owners in the years since.

National Register of Historic Places

Ezzard Building, 1952, Lawrenceville

The sign in front of this building at the corner of the courthouse square notes: Dr. Webster Price Ezzard was one of Lawrenceville’s most notable and recognized residents. A reliable and trusted country doctor, he served the community for over 60 years from his office on the town square, in the rear of the Jones Pharmacy Building, later Montfort Drugs. Dr. Ezzard delivered babies and made house calls for only $20. He charged his patients based on their ability to pay, often dispensing his services for free to people in need. Known for never taking a vacation, Dr. Ezzard was quoted as saying, “Retirement will come about two days before I go to the cemetery.” Dr. Ezzard’s drugstore soda fountain also provided a social setting for the young people of Lawrenceville. From the 1940s thru the 1960s, teens would gather for Coca Colas, malts, and dance the jitterbug to rock and roll. Dr. Ezzard’s son George took up the medical practice after his father’s death in 1963 at the age of 83. One of Dr. Ezzard’s most famous deliveries was 1949-51 Heavyweight Champion Ezzard Charles.

Allen’s Invalid Home, Milledgeville

This is one of two nearly identical structures that were later built on the site, and is the only surviving remnant of the sanitarium. From limited sources, I have preliminarily identified this as the administration building and Dr. Allen’s residence, though it has also been identified as the dining hall and women’s building.

In 1890, Dr. Henry Dawson Allen, Sr., bought the old Oglethorpe University property in the Midway community and in 1891 opened a private hospital for chronic incurable cases, likely as an alternative to the less personal care offered at the nearby State Lunatic Asylum.

Allen’s Invalid Home for the Treatment of Nervous Diseases was among the first private psychiatric institutions in the Southeastern United States. Dr. Allen was very progressive and bought up as much of the surrounding land, on which were grown a great variety of vegetables and stock for the use of the institution. Patients weren’t required to work but could if they chose to. Dr. Allen’s sons, Dr. H. D. Allen, Jr., and Dr. Edwin Whitaker Allen, Sr., eventually practiced alongside their father.

Rear of the building, showing the addition.

Abandoned Interiors of Allen’s Invalid Home

Please note that this is private property. I had permission to photograph. If you wish to photograph you may wish to make a donation to the Maranatha Mission, which oversees the property.

Crawford Long Childhood Home, 1810s, Madison County

Also known as the Crawford Long Childhood Home, this Federal style house was built by Madison County pioneer James Long, circa 1817. James long was the father of Dr. Crawford Williamson Long, the first man to successfully use ether as an anesthesia for surgery. The elder Long came to Georgia with his family from Pennsylvania in 1790 and was a successful planter and merchant and was one of the founders of Danielsville in 1812-1813. He was among the first in newly created Madison County (1811) to receive a license to sell liquor. His holdings in the area eventually reached 13,000 acres and at least 22 slaves. He married a local girl, Elizabeth Ware, on 8 December 1813 and their son Crawford was born on 1 November 1815, presumably at an earlier, though undocumented, home the family owned in Danielsville proper.

The land where this house is located wasn’t purchased until December of 1817 and wasn’t located within the city limits. Because of the low tax evaluation of the property at that time, it is presumed the house was not present at the time of the purchase. James Long was active in local politics and early sessions of the Inferior Court met is his home. He served as Clerk of the Superior Court, Danielsville postmaster, and in both houses of the Georgia legislature. According to the nomination form which added the house to the National Register of Historic Places, it is the only extant, authentic structure associated with his [Crawford W. Long’s] life.

After the sale of the house by the Long heirs in 1874, it has had several owners, including the Thurmond, O’Kelley, Thompson, and Sorrow families. They have kept a watchful eye over it. Crawford Long lived in the house until he left for nearby Franklin College (University of Georgia) in 1829. Local oral traditions suggests that Dr. Long was actually born in the house, which would place its construction date in the 1813-1815 range, but since no primary evidence exists to prove this claim, a debate continues. Either way, it’s significant as a residence of one of the most important figures in 19th century American medicine.

Dr. Crawford Williamson Long. Photo Source: A Cyclopedia of American Medical Biography, Volume 2, 1913. Public Domain.

The National Register nomination also notes: Architecturally, the Crawford Long Childhood Home has significance as a refined example of federal period architecture used in the construction of dwellings on the upper frontier portions of Georgia during the nineteenth century. The style of the structure is more refined than other extant vernacular houses of its area. A graphic reconstruction of the structure, with its original federal pedimented porch would reveal a definite change in character from its present appearance and would distinguish it from other houses in that early nineteenth century period and locality. The interior of the building is indicative of an imported eastern taste transferred into the upper Piedmont of Georgia. The wood paneling and graining found in the formal rooms of the house reflect quality craftsmanship and are a noteworthy accomplishment for that early date and time. The two second-story fireplace surrounds also convey a quality of craftsmanship. The smooth finishing of the interior wood indicates great care in construction as well…

National Register of Historic Places

Barron-Blair House, 1820, Clinton

This magnificent house was completed circa 1820 and various histories suggest construction began as early as 1810. It features first- and second-floor colonnades not only on the front of the house but on the rear ell, as well.

It was built for an early Jones County commissioner, Captain John Mitchell, and expanded in the 1820s by attorney James Smith. Smith was a charter trustee of the Clinton Academy. Dr. Horatio Bowen, a prominent physician, planter, and one of the largest wine producers in the state, purchased the home in 1845. Judge Barron was a later owner.

Old Clinton Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Denmark-Hiers House, 1906, Fitzgerald

This was the home of Fitzgerald pioneer settlers Dr. Arthur Howell Denmark (1872-1957) and Bertha Twiss Denmark (1879-1949) and was owned by their descendants for over a century. His daughter, the late Frances Denmark Hiers (1909-2010), spent most of her life in the house. She and her husband Jimmy opened Hiers Jewelers in 1945 and Frances later served as the first woman president of the Georgia Jewelers’ Association.

She earned a degree in Drama from the State Normal College in Athens (now UGA) and taught “expression” at Fitzgerald High School for a number of years. She directed the first production of the local historical pageant, Our Friends the Enemy, but is best remembered for directing over 1000 weddings. I was a member of one of those wedding parties and have fond memories of Mrs. Hiers. She was all business and didn’t suffer foolishness but was an absolute delight. Her civic involvements were legion and included service on the boards of Central United Methodist Church, the Pilot Club, the Fitzgerald-Ben Hill Arts Council, and the Blue and Gray Memorial Association.

South Main-South Lee Streets Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

William Tyre Swift House, 1857, Perry

Also known as the Swift-Tolleson House, this antebellum Greek Revival townhouse was built for Judge William Tyre Swift, most likely with the labor of enslaved men. The street on which it is located is named for Judge Swift. In 1879, legend relates that the world-famous SSS Tonic was invented in the backyard by Judge Swift’s descendant, Charles Thomas Swift. The tonic was one of the best-selling American patent medicines of its time and is still in production today, albeit a different formula. J. Meade Tolleson purchased the home in 1929 and it remained in the Tolleson family another forty years.