Well, now that we were suffering a sugar high from our milk shakes at Stacey’s and we thought we might need some medical attention, we walked down the street to the Visitor Center which was also the entrance to the Holmes Medical Museum.
We chatted with the volunteer at the Visitor Center who told us that Baldwin County’s first hospital, the Sibley Holmes Memorial Hospital was originally located on the second floor above the Visitor Center and was operational from 1933 to 1958. She further explained that it was located on the second floor because the road was originally dirt so it would be less dusty on the second floor.
A comment about us snowbirds….she asked us where we were from, she replied that they don’t see many people from MA (or RI for that matter). We think that the majority of New Englanders just head straight down Route 95 to Florida where they can enjoy the warmer temperatures. They do not tend to venture west so perhaps they haven’t discovered how nice (although cooler this time of year) Alabama is. It’s mainly people from Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee who are the snow birds in this area. In Florida, January, February and March is their peak season but here peak season doesn’t start until mid-March.
Anyway, as you walk through the door from the Visitor Center on the first floor in the first room along with a few displays of medical memorabilia is a replica of the Doris Alexander Thompson print studio in Magnolia Springs. The focal point of the exhibit is her lithography press. There was a newspaper article about her but it was hard to read so I can’t provide any comments about the significance of this display.
As we headed up the stairs (not the original steps) we weren’t quite sure what to expect but it turned out to be quite fascinating if not a little spooky! In 1928, Dr. W.C. Holmes joined his father, Dr. Sibley Holmes, in his medical practice. Their dream was to establish Baldwin County’s first hospital but it was not realized until after the elder Dr. Holmes’s death in 1933. One of the focal points of the exhibit is the operating room but other rooms contained interesting medical paraphernalia from the period as well.
After looking at some of the equipment used, some of which looked a little scary, we made the comment that we were glad that we were living in this era of medicine – better diagnostic equipment, better sterilization techniques, better disease control, etc. But we were also struck by the fact that not a lot of the instruments have changed over the years – some of it looked very familiar!
Take a look at the photos and maybe you’ll get a sense of what we mean!