PHOTO OF THE DAY: MUSEUM’S MONDAY LOOK BACK
This is the Monday’s historic look back — a weekly feature by Heritage Hall Museum & Archives that is posted on its Facebook page. It includes the following information:
This is the photo of the Freeman Clinic as it appeared at the top of the May 16, 1963 issue of the Freeman Courier. It marked the move of the clinic from Main Street to the open area across Eighth Street, south of what was then the Freeman Community Hospital.The building – now physically connected to the hospital (today, Freeman Regional Health Services) – continues as the FRHS Clinic. You’ll note, however, that the front entrance has moved from north to south, part of a major renovation of the entire clinic following the 1994 Connection project that linked the hospital and clinic with a new building that included a new emergency room, surgical suite, lab, patient rooms, offices and a new public entrance. That project required vacating and ending Eighth Street at Wipf Street.
The clinic traces its roots to Dr. Irvin Kaufman, a community native who opened his practice in 1948 in his home and then in various locations in downtown Freeman. In 1952, his brother LeRoy Kaufman – also a doctor – joined him and they soon moved into the north portion of the recently built Miller Hotel building at Fifth and Main (today Garden Apartments). Shortly after that, Irvin left for military service and LeRoy continued the practice. But shortly after Irvin’s return, LeRoy died suddenly. In 1956, Jose Villa joined the practice and three later so did Dennis Epp. The clinic, which now included three doctors, outgrew the space and moved into the new building in 1963. The clinic was a private endeavor; while the doctors all practiced at the local hospital, there was no institutional relationship. Lonnie Waltner joined the practice in 1968 and the clinic established a satellite clinic in Bridgewater and the clinic became known as Rural Medical Clinics.
The building and the practice have undergone several major renovations over the past six decades. But the landmark building remains home to primary care physicians as well as visiting specialists. It continues as an integral part of the locally based health care system serving the larger Freeman community.