1920: The Presbyterian Clinic - Free Outpatient Care for Poor Children




The camp brought attention to a big problem: the lack of adequate health care for poor children of all ages. Others began joining the effort to resolve the situation. A chance meeting in 1921 between a local pediatrician and the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Dallas resulted in the establishment of the Presbyterian Clinic. Located in the basement of the church, it was the first free children’s clinic in the Southwest not associated with a hospital.

Soon after Dallas businessman Percy Freeman’s son died, the elder Freeman donated money in his son’s memory for land and a permanent building to house the Presbyterian Clinic. The clinic moved into the newly completed building in 1924.

Also at Presbyterian Clinic, local dentist Juanita Wade initially provided free emergency dental services. In 1928, Harold Younger established a dental clinic at Freeman that was funded by the Dallas Kiwanis Club for more than 20 years.

In 1929, Dallas entrepreneur Thomas L. Bradford Sr. would donate enough money to make May Smith’s dream come true: the construction of a real hospital just for babies. May Smith previously cared for Bradford’s daughter Elizabeth when she was a child. Elizabeth adored Nurse Smith and loved taking babies at the camp for rides in her wagon. After both Elizabeth and her mother died, Bradford donated land and money to build a permanent facility for the cause his daughter loved. Descendants of the Bradford family support Children’s to this day.

Top: The Freeman Clinic provided free care to all children.

Middle: The Presbyterian Clinic provided free outpatient care for poor children.

Bottom: The Rev. William Anderson (with his wife Nancy) co-founded the Presbyterian Clinic with Dr. Jack Perkins

< 1913     1930 >


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