This large central room is given over to some items and works of Dr. Henry Foster. Dr. Foster was born January 18,1821 in Norwich, VT and came to Clifton Springs in the fall of 1849 by train looking for a place to begin his Water Cure. We must recall at this time that medicine, as we know it today, was in its infancy. It was thought that the use of sulphur waters could not only improve one's health but had some curative powers. It did seem to help skin diseases and other ills with marked success.
Dr. Foster stopped at the old Powell Hotel and spent some time looking over the property. Deeply interested, he purchased ten acres around the springs and put up his first wooden buildings 1850. His second set of buildings were of brick solving some of the doctor's worried about fire.
The doctor had this cottage built in 1854. The cottage was first occupied by Dr. Foster's brother, Hubbard Foster and later another brother, William. Dr. Foster did not marry until he was 51. In 1871, a Mr. Edwards of Hunter, NY and his daughter, Mary, visited the Water Cure. Dr. Foster was much taken with the young lady as she was mentally gifted and endowed with a strong and sympathetic nature. Later that year he visited her and they were married the following June of 1872. (Mary was 35 years old) It was at this time that they moved into the Foster Cottage for prior to that time Dr. Foster had kept rooms at the Water Cure, close to his patients.
The couple continued to occupy the premises until the doctor's death on January 15" 1901. His wife, Mary, remained here until her death in 1916. After that, the cottage became the home of several of the superintendents of the Sanitarium. Sometime later, it was broken up into four apartments for the use of visiting doctors or Sanitarium officials until such time as they could find local lodging. The building, both interior and exterior, was renovated and updated by Mr. & Mrs. 1. A. Morris during the year 1999 and 2000. The museum was first opened for visitors during the Sulphur Springs Festival in July of 2001.
(IN THE CASES)
In the several cases you will find some of the different instruments used in medical practice in the earlier years of the institution. Here also are some of the artifacts of the old hospital including an 1868 copy of the register of the then Water Cure. The doctor believed in endeavoring to heal not only bodily ills but also those of the mind. He was very religious of nature and believed that he had been sent here to do the Lord's will His vision was to be especially helpful to ministers and missionaries who came here for rest and renewal. For more than 30 years, the doctor welcomed the International Missionary Society to hold their annual meetings here. He raised an outdoor tabernacle for them on the east lawn of the Sanitarium near where the Woodbury Clinical Building now stands.
This was done so that while here they could rest and be renewed to go forth again into the missionary fields of the world. Dr. Foster was a very religious man, a Presbyterian by birth, but a supporter of all the churches in the village. No matter how small his institution or how large it grew, he always had a chapel within the premises. Daily services were held in the chapel and his staff was encouraged to take part in them. So long as he was alive he maintained a chapel in each of his facilities.
Around the room you can view photos and sketches of the three sets of buildings he erected on the same site over the years. As early as 1855/56 he had begun construction of his second set of buildings and by 1892 had begun his third and final set. He was never shut down or out of business during these changes. He would have one wing of the building torn down and replace it before beginning another part. This was accomplished in thirds; the west wing, then the east wing and finally the central section. Daily worried about fire, especially with his first building, the second and third building projects were of brick His final set was completed and dedicated July 10, 1896.
A new hospital complex was approved for construction in 1967 and dedicated in June of 1972. The old red brick building was scheduled for destruction but when it was found that it was going to cost in excess of $100,000 to do this, interest grew to rescue it. The interior of the old building was gutted and remodeled into 119 senior citizen apartments, which today is almost always filled to capacity. The building is now known as Spa Apartments
At one side of the room you will find one of Dr. Foster's desks. It has been glass paneled so that displays may be made on its face. Other than some of the doctor's medical instruments, only a small number of original items of the doctors are available for display.
Please note the panel near the east door in this room. This tells some of the different types of baths, which were available at the Water Cure and later Sanitarium. This panel was developed by historical society member, James Conners.
Most all of the medical instruments on display have been donated to the historical society by the C.S. Hospital & Clinic. Over the large display case you will find a portrait of Dr. & Mrs. Foster. We did not have a matching portrait of Mrs. Foster but were able to have a copy of Mrs. Foster enlarged from an early photograph of her.
"In the main lobby of the Clifton Springs Hospital &Cline you will find two large paintings of the doctor and his wife. Employees of the hospital arranged to have the doctor's portrait painted and when presented with it he would not allow it to be hung until such time as a like portrait was done of his wife."
We are the beneficiaries of these fine portraits which depict that special couple so important to the growth and development of this village.
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