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From Tents to Cabins to Clinics

The nation's first hospital was established in 1597 in St. Augustine. Since that time, Floridians have required medical care wherever it could be had: behind fort walls, under tents at military outposts and training grounds, at missionary camps deep in the marshes and forests, in the private homes and businesses of physicians and healers, and eventually at large public institutions and state-of-the-art facilities.

Fever wards at the division hospital: Jacksonville, Florida

Fever wards at the division hospital: Jacksonville, Florida (1898)

Image number: N041310

Dr. E. G. Farris's office: Saint Cloud, Florida

Dr. E. G. Farris's office: Saint Cloud, Florida (190-)

Image number: N039799

Left to right: Mr. Furman, J.F. Farris, unidentified boy, Mr. Labor Farris, Mr. Hastings, Dr. Farris.

Bagdad Land and Lumber Company Commissary: Munson, Florida (193-)

Bagdad Land and Lumber Company Commissary: Munson, Florida (193-)

Image number: N047408

Left to right: Mr. Furman, J.F. Farris, unidentified boy, Mr. Labor Farris, Mr. Hastings, Dr. Farris.

The pharmacist Charles Spencer Stewart is at the far left. At the time a pharmacist was as much a doctor as a dispenser of drugs.

From New Towns to the Wildest Parts of the State

As Florida developed, it both grew in population and attracted entrepreneurs and tourists by the millions. Doctors established private health clinics catering to wealthy patients.

Major industries such as railroad, timber, and phosphate required salaried doctors and nurses to care for the workers in the camps and temporary communities that followed the companies as they expanded throughout the wildest parts of the state.

Street scene: Wildwood, Florida

Street scene: Wildwood, Florida (1879)

Image number: N046212

The second building is Dr. Edward B. Fleece's office. He's standing in the doorway.

First aid tent at camp for Overseas Railway construction workers

First aid tent at camp for Overseas Railway construction workers (1906)

Image number: Rc06138

Florida East Coast Railroad's hospital: Miami, Florida

Florida East Coast Railroad's hospital: Miami, Florida (1910?)

Image number: N034935