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December 24, 2018

1864 First Hospital Opens in Warrensburg - Dr. Alexander Reese - Namesake for Reese School

Story from Western Missouri Medical Center
Pictures from JOCOMO Historical Society

Celebrating a History of 150 Years of Hospitals in Warrensburg 
1864  The story of hospitals in Warrensburg begins with an introduction to the career of one physician who  came to this area in 1864 to implement a Civil War Hospital. Near the end of the devastating Civil War,  Dr. Alexander Reese, a native of Madison, Ind., was in charge of the first hospital for the duration  from 1864 to 1866 when it ceased operation.    The Warrensburg Civil War Hospital was housed in a Presbyterian Church at 219 West Gay Street  which had been commandeered by the United States Government. It was stripped of its spiritual  furniture and made to function as an infirmary, surgery and death-house for scores of Union soldiers  and civilians.    

Dr. Reese left Warrensburg following the end of the Civil War. He served his next assignment issued  by the Army as a surgeon at Fort Leavenworth. However, a few years later he came back to  Warrensburg, married Miss Susie Baile and built his home at 209 West Culton. He practiced for many  years in Warrensburg and was very active in this community.

In recognition of his work with the  community school system, the Reese School building was named after him.  
Reese School, Warrensburg, MO.  Named after Dr. Alexander Reese, Civil War Doctor
With the advance of years, Dr. Reese retired from practice and moved to a farm south of town. He  died in 1907, a loyal citizen remembered and mourned by many of his townsmen.  
This story would not have been told if it were not for the diligence of a particular volunteer working  on the archives of Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC). 
She noted Oak Hill Sanitarium was not  the first hospital in Warrensburg’s history. (WMMC would like to thank Jane Reynolds, who brought  the above information to us from a book written by another pioneer, Mrs. L. E. Smiser’s, “The Golden  Years.”)   
1908  Oak Hill Sanitarium at 519 South Holden was opened by Dr. Harry F. Parker. This five-patient-room  hospital used the third floor for the surgery section as it had large skylights for natural light and  ventilation. Oak Hill closed in 1937 when Dr. Parker was appointed as Missouri State Commissioner  of Health.    
1908 Oak Hill Sanitarium Opens at 519 South Holden Street
by Dr. Harry F. Parker
1910  Two years after Oak Hill opened, Drs. L. J. Schofield, W. R. Patterson and O. B. Hall bought the  Gilkeson home at 122 East Market for $9,000. When it opened, this facility had seven patient beds  with a large front porch which was utilized. Both hospitals attended to the healthcare needs of  Warrensburg throughout the thirties.    
1910 Warrensburg Clinic, 122 East Market Street by Drs. Schofield, Patterson and Hall.
1940 As Warrensburg’s population grew, more doctors came to town and more patient rooms were needed. The physicians encouraged a bond issue to build a new hospital, but it was voted down. The  three original owners felt they could not continue in the same building and chose to sell their  interests in the clinic. Dr. Hall sold his interest to his son-in-law, Dr. R. Lee Cooper, father of Dr.  Robert L. Cooper and father-in-law of Dr. Hugh A. Hanna. Dr. Patterson sold his interest to Dr. Ralph  McKinney and Dr. Schofield’s interest was sold to Dr. O. H. Damron.    
1941  With an investment of $45,000, these doctors began and completed the remodeling and construction  of a 12-bed addition. The name of the facility became The Warrensburg Medical Clinic.   

1945  These physicians formed a nonprofit corporation and the new facility became known as The  Warrensburg Medical Center, Inc.    
1949  As the community grew, more referrals from surrounding areas came to the physicians. They realized  another addition was needed. In 1949, they added an 84-foot addition to the front of the structure.    
1959  Despite the best efforts of those who owned the hospital and their concerns for patients, the cost of  changing the physical plant and new rigid state laws forced the owners to make a critical decision. In  December 1959, an announcement was made that the Warrensburg Medical Center, Inc. would close.    
1960  Realizing the importance of a modern hospital, Johnson County residents voted in favor of a bond  issue to build the current facility at a cost of $1.6 million.    
1963  The newly completed 58-bed Johnson County Memorial Hospital (JCMH) opened on July 31, 1963, at  403 Burkarth. Before the day was over, Wilma and John Pfeffer became the parents of Julie Dianne  Pfeffer, the first baby born at JCMH as the staff was transferring patients from the old hospital to the  new one.    

1965  Betty and John Ridge were the parents of the first set of twins born at JCMH on Jan. 21, 1965.  1967  JCMH received its first accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals in  September.      
1968  Members from three study clubs began a Gift Shop at JCMH and the American Medical Association  approved the facility as a Radiological Technology School. 
1969  As a result of an increased patient workload, the Radiological Technology School was closed and a  22-bed obstetrical and medical/surgical area was completed.    
1973  The C. W. Sheppard Wing was added with another 20 beds as well as an uncompleted shelled-in area  for future expansion. The 60s and 70s   These years included many changes in healthcare such as; the birth of Medicare, the formation of a  16-person volunteer chaplaincy program, the hospital began preparing all the Meals on Wheels food  for this community, along with multiple additions and renovations occurring.    
The 1980s   These years brought two significant changes. The beginning the Skilled Nursing Facility and Johnson  County Memorial Hospital became Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC) on Jan. 1, 1986.    
The 1990s  During the 1900s numerous new physicians moved into the area. As the population of the  Warrensburg area continued to grow, so did WMMC. Clinical Documentation on the computer system went live as planned, on Dec. 3, 1996, and was  successful. Many hospitals in Missouri regard WMMC’s computer usage. WMMC received the highest level of accreditation possible from the Joint Commission on  Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. This was the second time WMMC received the  “Accreditation with Commendation” Award, one that only 2% of hospitals nationwide have ever  received.    
2009  WMMC expanded family healthcare services with the addition of Western Missouri Family Healthcare  in Holden, Mo.       
2010  WMMC continued to see growth. In fact, WMMC leaders agreed upon a Master Facility Plan to expand  the medical center to roughly 215,000 square feet, nearly double the previous facility. The plans  included a state-of-the-art Patient Tower featuring 72 private-patient rooms, a tranquil healing  garden, new lobbies and nearly 500 parking spaces. The plans also included renovations to the  medical center and Diagnostic Imaging.  On April 19, 2010, WMMC broke ground on the nearly $51.5 million building project. The year also  saw the opening of Western Missouri Family Health in Knob Noster, Mo. 

2011  WMMC acquired Western Missouri Internal Medicine—formerly Warrensburg Medical Clinic—on Jan. 1,  2011. WMMC continued to see advancement in technology with the completion of the new Diagnostic  Imaging Department and arrival of the MAGNETOM Verio 3 Telsa (MRI scanner), SOMATOM Definition  AS (128-Slice CT scanner), and AXIOM Luminos (radiographic and fluoroscopy imaging system).  WMMC now offered patients one of the most sophisticated imaging experiences in the region.     
2013  On July 10, 2013, WMMC broke ground on a new Medical Office Building. The $8.4 million project is a  state-of-the-art, three-story Medical Office Building that features 43,298 square feet attached to  the current facility. The building will house a variety of specialties including general surgery,  cardiology, oncology and pulmonology, with room to grow for additional specialists.  
2014  On July 8, 2014, WMMC celebrated the completion of the new Medical Office Building (MOB). ​The new MOB includes a Cancer Center, Pulmonology Clinic, Outpatient Lab, Cardiac/Pulmonary Department, Pain Center, Sleep Laboratory and office suite for Surgical Services of Warrensburg.     2016  WMMC continued to grow specialty services for the community. Recognizing a need for behavioral  health, WMMC opened the new Bridge Behavioral Health Unit to provide care for senior adult (65+)  patients whose psychiatric symptoms have posed significant problems or safety hazards to their  activities of daily living.     In addition, the medical center began developing strategies to adapt to the changing trends in  healthcare. The best solution to continue providing the best care, closer to home, was for WMMC to  join forces with local providers to establish an Integrated Community Care Model. These partnerships  enhance care coordination and allow for patient record integration.   
WMMC Today   
WMMC has significantly expanded in order to bring innovative healthcare closer to home. Over the  years, it has welcomed numerous physicians, partnered with other health organizations and  purchased new technology and equipment to bring advanced care to our region.     The medical center is embedded into the community with participation in health fairs, screenings,  support groups, seminars and classes, various task forces, projects, teams, committees and wellness  initiatives. WMMC has had years of glowing reports from our auditors complimenting our stability and  resources. Our roots continue to grow deep as we work to leave a lasting legacy for Warrensburg  and the surrounding communities.    WMMC is a fully-accredited acute care county medical center. WMMC prides itself in emergency care,  obstetrics, orthopedic and general surgery, family healthcare, internal medicine, outpatient clinics,  ambulatory care, rehabilitation services and more. Inpatient services include medical, surgical, intensive, obstetrical, orthopedic, pediatric and skilled nursing care, as well as a wide range of  therapeutic and diagnostic outpatient services.   

Biographical Sketch of Harry F. Parker, M.D., Johnson County, Missouri,
Warrensburg Township

>From "History of Johnson County, Missouri," by Ewing Cockrell,
Historical Publishing Company, Topeka, Cleveland, 1918.

Harry F. Parker, M. D., the founder of the "Oak Hill Sanitarium" in Warrensburg, has not only pre-eminently succeeded in the practice of medicine in Johnson county but he has made a name for himself that is widely known and he is now only thirty-three years of age.  Doctor Parker was born January 8, 1884 in Johnson county, the son of Col. J.
H. and Elizabeth Ann (Field) Parker, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of Missouri.  Col. J. H. Parker was the son of William  W. and Elizabeth A. (Higgins) Parker.  The father of William W. Parker, Solomon Parker, was of Scotch descent and a lineal descendant of one of the three brothers who emigrated from Scotland and settled in Jamestown, Virginia, during the earliest Colonial days.  William W. Parker came from Virginia to Missouri with his maternal grandfather, Mr. Higgins, and his son, J. H., and settled in Lafayette county in 1842, on tracts of land they had purchased and entered from the government. Their route to Missouri led over the Allegheny mountains and along the
national road from Cumberland to Wheeling, West Virginia.  Mr. Higgins died in Lexington, Missouri, in 1843 and in the same year his daughter, Elizabeth A. (Higgins) Parker, the mother of Col. J. H. Parker, also died.  William W. Parker and his son, J. H., were engaged in the pursuits of agriculture in Lafayette county, as were also the family of Fields, prominent pioneers of Missouri.  J. H. Parker and Elizabeth Ann Field were united in marriage in 1860 and to them were born the following children: William, a well known farmer and stockman; John, deceased; Frank, deceased; Joseph, deceased; Sallie, deceased; James H., who is engaged in the real estate and stock business in Julesburg, Colorado; Bettie, deceased; and H. F., the subject of this review.  Col. J. H.
Parker has been prominently connected with the early history of Johnson County.  Politically, he is affiliated with the Democratic party and he represented Johnson county in the state Legislature.  Col. Parker has also filled a number of appointive offices.  He is a member of the  A. F. & A. M. and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  While residing  in Johnson county, Col. Parker erected a church near his home and contributed generously toward its support.  A sketch of Col. and Mrs. Parker appears in the Biographical History of Missouri in the edition of 1915.  Harry Field Parker was one of the youngest students who have attended the Warrensburg High School, graduating at the age of sixteen years.  He entered the University of Missouri and was in attendance at
that institution for two years when he matriculated in the Medical School of Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, graduating with the degree of Doctor of Medicine in the class of 1906.  For one year Dr. Parker was interne in the City Hospital of St. Louis, which was then under the direction of the board of health.  Dr. Parker had charge
of the Hearne Hospital in San Diego, California, for one year.  In 1908 he returned to Warrensburg, Missouri, opened his office, and began at once an extensive practice.  Three years after locating in Warrensburg, Doctor Parker founded the "Oak Hill Sanitarium," located at 519 South Holden street, which he still owns and maintains at a high standard.  The hospital has the best and most modern equipment and is always filled to its capacity.  The patients who have been taken there are among Doctor Parker's warmest friends and admirers upon leaving the sanitarium.  It has proven of great value and has filled a long felt need of the citizens of Warrensburg and adjoining counties.  Doctor Parker devotes his time exclusively to his large practice.  His practice is of a
general nature and he has proven equally efficient as physician and surgeon.  "Oak Hill Sanitarium" is open to all the physicians of Johnson County, who send many of their patients there.  It is under the official management of Mrs. Maude M. Irwin, a trained nurse who has been connected with the institution since its founding.  November 25, 1908, Dr. Harry Field Parker was united in marriage with Martha Sousley of Nebraska City, Nebraska.  She is the daughter of Capt. J. R. and Martha (Cheatham) Sousley, both of whom are now deceased.  At the time of her marriage, Mrs. Parker resided in Lowville, New York.  Doctor and Mrs. Parker reside in their home at 118 West Gay street in Warrensburg.
Besides his city residence, Doctor Parker is owner of the "Meadow Lawn Stock Farm," comprising 400 acres of the best farm land in Hazel Hill township, and it is devoted to the breeding of Shorthorn cattle.
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