[See also my update to this post.]
Yes, there once actually was a hospital atop Hospital Hill. The Leander M. Haskins Hospital opened for patients in 1906. It had 10 beds and, according to one report I found, treated 90 patients in a year. By comparison, the larger Addison Gilbert Hospital in neighboring Gloucester had 30 beds at the time. Those who live in Rockport today know that Hospital Hill is now bare, but I can find no reference to when the hospital stopped operating or what became of it. If anyone knows, please add a comment below.
As for Leander Haskins, the man for whom the hospital was named, he was, at least for a time, in the business of manufacturing isinglass, a substance made from the air bladders of fish and used in making glue, refining wines and liquors, and other purposes.
He was also someone who was active in town affairs. When the Sandy Bay Yacht Club was organized in 1885, he was its first commodore. When the town in 1903 needed a new library, he was the person who negotiated with Andrew Carnegie for the funding to build it.
A native of Rockport, Haskins graduated from Dartmouth College in 1862. A book about his class at Dartmouth, published in 1884, said this about him:
Leander Miller Haskins, son of Moses and Betsey D. Haskins, was born at Eockport, Mass., June 20, 1842. His father was a mariner. He fitted at Andover, Mass., entered the Scientific School in the spring term of 1860, and continued through the course.
After graduating he continued the study of engineering and surveying in Boston ; taught in the winter of 1862-3; went to New Orleans in May, 1863, and joined the 19th Army Corps, as Commissary Chief Clerk, stationed at Port Hudson and Carrol ton ; discharged by reason of sickness in September, 1863 ; appointed clerk in the Navy Department in December, 1863; resigned in April, 1866; continued the study of engineering in Boston until October, 1866, when he was reappointed a clerk in the Navy Department; resigned in October, 1868, and entered into a partnership with his brother Moses W. Haskins, in the wholesale fish and oil business ; in November, 1879 he engaged in the manufacture of isinglass, and so continues.
This postcard is postmarked 1907. No publisher is identified.
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The Brother of My Great Grandmother Charles A. Taylor died there on August 17, 1913So it was operating then. It is listed on the Death certificate.
an aunt of mine was born there.
Hello, Read my post below. What was your aunt’s name it may have been the baby born my brother was aware of being born there.
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I was born in the Haskins hospital on November 18, 1938. My family lived in Gloucester and my mothers doctor practiced at Haskins.
Here is some additional info on the Hospital;
Looks like John may have been the last to be born there. It closed in 1938 according to this piece.
I recall being told it housed some military during WW2.
As kids we used to sneak in the side door. It was dark and scary until you reached the third floor where the windows weren’t boarded shut. I remember what must have been an operating room on the third floor. Still some implements and a gurney lying around.
Also recall the Fire Department using the empty building for training.
The Kinghorn family lived in the caretaker house on the property until sometime in the 50’s.
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The new book, Rockport Through the Years, by the Sandy Bay Historical Society and Museum has pictures and an article about the hospital (pp 171-175). It says it was closed in November 1918 due to expensive heating problems. But had to reopen 8 months later to care for people with Spanish Flu. It closed when this epidemic was over. In error the article states it never reopened. However, as posted above John LaFond was born there in November 18, 1938. Also, my brother, Raymond G. Smith, was born there May 9,1938 . It was my understanding from my parents only one other child was born there during this period. (Neither living at this time) It was a girl. I will find her name and post it. But there evidently were more born then. I do not know when or why the hospital opened and closed but I do not believe it stayed open very long after 1938 or as this post says it closed in 1938. I am wondering if John LaFond’s mother’s doctor was Dr. Heberly… He was our docto, along with my aunt, Dr. Olive Willims, who practiced in Worcester. He lived at Bass Rocks but we lived in Rockport. Thanks for this post.
I have more full and accurate information now. In 1932 Dr. Clement Heberle leased the property of the Haskins Hospital for his own clinic and sanitarium. He named it Restcroft. He had a cutting edge lab in one of the buildings and a place for patients who were well enough to participate in outdoor activities. He had a specialty in arthritis. He and his family lived on the grounds (2 sons and wife). 200 babies were born there. In 1938 he gave up his lease due perhaps to the furnace needing repair and the town not having the funds to do it. Another doctor was at first interested in assuming the lease but with the furnace problem did not do it..
Thanks for this information. Helpful and interesting.
I was born there in 1935 delivered by Dr. C.K. Heberle. I have my mother’s hospital bill. It cost $80.00 for delivery, room and board, doctor’s fee, semi private room, medication and care of baby for 10 day stay. It was called at that time Restcroft Hospital and Sanatarium, Inc.