The Aroostook Hospital

Houlton History Lesson

One of the progressive physicians who came to Houlton was Dr. Thomas S. Dickison.

 

He practiced in the town of Houlton and the vicinity for over 40 years. Dr. Dickison was a native of Carlton County, New Brunswick.

 

The son of Adam and Jeanette (Gibson) Dickison he was educated in the schools of Woodstock, New Brunswick and attended the University of New Brunswick. Afterwards he went to New York where he entered Bellevue hospital graduating in 1893. 

 

Dr. Thomas S. Dickison

He then located in Holton and soon acquired a large practice. He was the first person in Houlton to provide x-ray facilities for his patients and was the founder of Houltons first hospital. 

Soon after coming to Houlton Dr. Dickison purchased the home of Dr. Benjamin Bussey situated on Lawn Street. Early in 1903 Dr. Dickison realized the great need for proper facilities for his surgical patients and decided to make available his large home for emergency cases. 

Bangor was the nearest hospital at the time.

He secured a Miss Dugan, whose home was in Fredericton, New Brunswick, as a nurse and with the help of his wife cared for several patients.

His practice steadily grew and seeing no other way in which to expand he purchased a strip of land near his home (on School Street) and erected a small hospital containing 10 beds.

Dr. Dickinson financed the entire project, planned and wrote all the specifications for the new building. George MacNair, a well-known local Carpenter, erected it.

 

The first week after the hospital opened its doors every bed was filled,  with three cots placed in the hall and corridor. During the first month there were seven cases of typhoid fever and three surgical cases submitted.

Miss Annie Black of Bangor was secured a supervisor and Miss Dugan continued as assistant. The hospital became a boom to the countryside yet it was far too small to accommodate the very ill patients.

Dr. Dickerson further recognized the increased need and in 1911 squared off the hospital building and raised the roof which provided rooms for 16 additional beds. 

The depression came along in the 30s and a great amount of free work was necessary. This was a great loss to the hospital as well as to the physicians. The institution was reorganized and the name changed to “The Aroostook General Hospital”, controlled by a Board of Directors.

In the fall of 1953 the officials of The Aroostook General Hospital Association erected a new wing on the southside of the existing hospital.

 

The new wing consisted of a basement and two stories increasing the hospital by 26 extra beds with a fine basement.   

 

The hospital in 1956 had a capacity of 32 channel beds & 10 bassinets the superintendent was Miss Helen A. Turney, RN. 

When the project was completed the capacity of the hospital increased to 62 beds.

Courtesy Pioneer Times

​​​​© 2015 Aroostook County Historic & Art Museum

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