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Collier County’s First Hospital – Juliet C. Collier Hospital

Everglades City

by Lila Zuck

Barron G. Collier established Collier County’s first hospital in 1923.  Named for his wife, the Juliet C. Collier Hospital was a five-bed medical facility operating in a remodeled cottage along the eastern bank of the Barron River.

Established to provide medical care to the men working on construction projects, the hospital also offered services to residents of the communities in what became Collier County, eliminating the need to travel to either Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers or the U.S. Naval Hospital at Key West for medical care.

The Juliet C. Collier Hospital was staffed by Dr. William A. Brewer, the physician in charge, and Mrs. F.C. Duncan, Head Nurse.  In November 1926, Dr. D.M. Griffin of Plant City, Florida opened a dental office at the hospital, spending two weeks or longer at Everglades as needed.

Collier County's First Hospital by Lila Zuck Juliet C Collier Hospital- 1920s
Juliet C. Collier Hospital, 1920s

“Nothing is more successful to the outcome of a large construction program employing several hundred men in widely separated communities than the health of the workmen and the sanitation and hygiene of their living quarters and surroundings,” explained Dr. Brewer.  “In carrying out its program in this respect, the welfare workers of the company required a base from which to work and accordingly the Everglades Hospital was established.  When the size of our community and the number of employees are considered, we believe our hospital is second to none.  While there are improvements to be added that are necessary in an up-to-date hospital with accommodations for 100 patients, we can modestly say that we are already equipped to take care of all minor and emergency surgeries.

“In carrying out the Chinese plan of paying to be kept in good health, each white employee is charged one dollar and a half a month, married men one dollar and a half per month for one wife and one child, and fifty cents for each additional child.  Colored employees pay eighty cents per month.  These charges include medical attention day and night, at home or in the hospital, and full hospitalization.”

Dr. Brewer received his Medical Degree in 1911 from the Memphis Hospital Medical College, where he also interned for one year, before attending the New York Post-Graduate Medical School.  He practiced medicine for 16 years in Memphis, two of which he served in the U.S. Army during the World War.  His experience included Assistant to the Chair of Obstetrics at Memphis Hospital Medical College, Clinician in Obstetrics at the University of Tennessee, and four years experience working with G.U. Specialist Dr. George R. Livermore, of Memphis, Tennessee.

Mrs. Duncan graduated from the City and County Hospital of Rochester, Minnesota, and completed her nursing residency at the Mayo Brothers Institution in Rochester, Minnesota, before relocating to Everglades.  In an August 4, 1927, Collier County News article Dr, Brewer described her as “always on the job, and not only sees that her patients have the best possible attention, but puts herself out in many ways in preparing and serving delicacies not easily procurable in a frontier town. Mrs. Duncan has, by her untiring efforts, endeared herself to the entire community.”

The Juliet C. Collier Hospital closed in 1964 and became a private residence.

Collier County's First Hospital by Lila Zuck Juliet C Collier Hospital- 1961
Juliet C. Collier Hospital,1961
2023-12-09T05:39:55-05:00April 1, 2023|History|

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