Much of Eastland County's medical history can be traced to the work of two brothers, George and Edward Blackwell. George (1882-1955) attended Baylor Medical College and Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, where Edward (1890-1956) also attended. Both men returned to Eastland County after receiving their degrees. In 1907, George wed Frankie Brogdon, and in 1913, Edward wed her sister, Bessie. The two young physicians served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War I. Following the war, the brothers opened the Blackwell Clinic in downtown Gorman. They soon realized the need for patient care facilities, and in 1919 they built Blackwell Sanitarium, later known as Blackwell Hospital, at this site. Frankie and Bessie prepared meals at the new facility, which utilized its own livestock as a source of meat, eggs, milk and butter. Nurses performed medical service, as well as housekeeping tasks, and the brothers treated patients at both the clinic and the hospital. Contemporary to the hospital's opening, two large oilfields began drawing scores of new residents to the area, and the hospital continued to grow to meet demand. The brothers, who eventually moved their clinic to the hospital facilities, began to specialize and add new physicians to the staff. These included Dr. David V. Rodgers (1910-1971), George Blackwell's son-in-law who joined the staff in 1938 and assumed hospital leadership in the late 1950s. In 1971, hospital administrators completed a larger building elsewhere. Having grown to become a four-story brick edifice, with doctor and dental offices, clinic and laboratory, the old Blackwell Hospital building remained vacant until its demolition in 1989. (2005)
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