Hospital Cottages for Children Baldwinville

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The Hospital Cottages for Children was originally incorporated and opened in 1882 in Baldwinville, a village in the town of Templeton, Massachusetts. The children admitted to the hospital tended to come from one of the falling categories:

  • Those under fourteen years of age suffering from epileptic or epileptic form seizures.
  • Children suffering from other nervous disorders, not feeble-minded.
  • Children with deformities, with disease of hip, knee and other joints, spinal disease, infantile paralysis and other affections where the disorder is likely to require a long residence in a hospital.
  • Cases needing operation or fitting of supports, where this may be done by a residence of a few weeks or less. In such cases the children return to their homes as soon as the appliances are fitted, and are brought to the Hospital at intervals for observation.

Children were given care for chronic but non-contagious illnesses and diseases, in a country environment. Care was free to those who could not pay and at a moderate price for others. Weekly fees ranged from 50 cents to $6. No child was ever refused admission if the hospital had room. Epileptics, which made up the largest population of the patients, were received in a separate department. [1]

In more recent years, the children who died while patients at the Cottages were remembered in a 17 year project led by Alan Mayo and his wife Stephanie. The children had been buried at Greenlawn Cemetery in Baldwinville, and the graves had only numbers. The Mayos led an effort to commemorate all 40 of the children buried there with headstones over their graves so they will not be forgotten.[2] The new markers were donated by Ann Reever, daughter of JoJo Kelliher, the last child to die at the Hospital Cottages in 1942.[3]

Dr. Lucius Baker, Founder

Lucius W. Baker, a Templeton native, was a young physician in the early 1880s. After completing training at Bellevue Hospital, he sought out to prove his belief that chronically ill and epileptic children would have a better chance if they were treated in fresh country air from a younger age. He was backed financially by several local businessmen and bought three neighboring house on Pleasant St. in Templeton, Massachusetts, in 1880. This became the first location of The Hospital Cottages for Children. It is believed to be the first facility in America that provided both medical care and schooling for the patients and the first to specialize in the treatment of epilepsy in children, as well.

In 1887, Baker resigned his position to open another institution in Templeton, this one devoted to helping those addicted to alcohol and opium. Everett Flood, M.D., previously of the Worcester Lunatic Hospital, became the new superintendent of the Hospital Cottages.

Admission Records

Sources and further research

  1. Directory of the Charitable and Beneficient Organizations of Boston, Cupples, Upham and Company, 1886, p. 8
  2. Telegram & Gazette, May 19, 2011, Labor of Love Recognized by George Barnes
  3. Bishop, Sande, "Worcester Medicine", Fall 2003, Remembering the Hospital Cottages for Children. pp. 15-17

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