This year marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the flying saucer shaped Cherokee Atomedic Hospital in Woodstock.
And on Saturday, some former staff and patients plan to reunite to reminisce and see a display on Woodstock’s medical history at Woodstock Visitors Center at Historic Dean’s Store, 8588 Main St.
Dedication ceremonies for the hospital were held on July 20, 1969, the same day Americans landed on the moon. The modular building had served as the medical facility at the 1964 World’s Fair in NYC, featuring such futuristic elements as microwave ovens, computers and closed circuit patient observation. Dr. Evan Boddy spearheaded efforts to obtain the 22-bed hospital. It remained in operation on Arnold Mill Road for 25 years, closing in 1994. A new city hall was built on the site, and later, when city hall relocated, the amphitheater occupied the space.
In observance of this anniversary, Preservation Woodstock’s exhibit, “The Doctor is IN: Just What the Doctor Ordered,” traces Woodstock’s medical heritage from the 1800s until the opening of the hospital and a few years following. Emphasis is also placed on the opening of Woodstock’s first clinic in 1962, a landmark event for local residents. The clinic was built on property previously owned by the Dean family, descendants of Dr. Will Dean. Eventually the hospital, nursing home, and apothecary would complete the medical complex on the northeast corner of Arnold Mill Road and East Main Street where The Park at City Center is today. Nearby, the 1875 home of Dr. Will Dean and his family still stands today, and is Woodstock’s oldest dwelling house. It is said he treated patients there sometimes, even amputations on the south porch.
Relics from Dr. Will Dean’s medical practice, including original daily patient logs (1892-1906), leather medicine bags and a vintage shock treatment machine, are displayed. Short articles about other doctors, druggists and one special nurse of the era give insight into the culture of those changing times. A highlight of the exhibit is a replica of the hospital, a woodturning by Lewis Poor. The exhibit is on display throughout July at the Woodstock Visitors Center in Historic Dean’s Store. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 770-924-0406 for information.