Lowell has always had doctors and medical care. Through the years the look of that care has changed. Doctors made house calls and worked from offices, selflessly serving the village they loved. Throughout time, Lowell has even had two hospitals and a health sanitarium.
The Lowell Hospital
In 1917 two ladies decided to open a hospital in Lowell. Mrs. Sadie B. Sauer and Miss Mabel Kline joined forces and were ready to open on August 15. They rented the entire second floor of the Henry home at 112 N. Jefferson for their hospital. It accommodated six patients and boasted a modern operating and maternity room. Their goal was to make surgical cases their specialty. They wanted to make prices reasonable, so that everyone could afford proper care. The Ledger stated that the “enterprise should fill a long-felt want, saving the ill of this section delay in critical cases and the tiresome removal to Grand Rapids hospitals.” The Lowell Hospital advertised, “Good care, good board, reasonable prices.”
Mrs. Sauer had been running a private hospital in Brooklyn before coming to Lowell and was said to have had the recommendation of the best doctors and surgeons from Detroit, Jackson, Grand Rapids and Brooklyn.
The hospital didn’t last too long, as by May of 1918 Mrs. Sadie Sauer announced she was going to open a hospital and sanitarium in Spring Lake. The Grand Haven News states that she had previously conducted a hospital in Lowell and was going to move that equipment to the Spring Lake start up.
The ‘Henry Home’ belonged to Myron Henry, pharmacist in Lowell 60 years who owned his own drug store for 45 years w/soda fountain at 203 East Main, in the Negonce block. He served the village as mayor during Centennial Celebration. He did not appear to be a part of the hospital, simply renting out part of his home.
Nellie Willett Holcomb was born in 1873 and had a difficult and tragic early adulthood, burying two very young children and a husband by 1912. Her brother, Thomas Willett lived in Lowell with his family, including his daughter Ruby who later married becoming Mrs. Norton Avery.
By 1917 Nellie had moved to Lowell with her young daughter, and was caring for others. The business she ran from her home at 121 S. Jefferson is described as a hospital, rest home and a sanitarium. She advertised everything from shampooing and scalp treatments, care and special treatment for rheumatic, paralytic and nervous patients, along with restaurant and rooms.
It appears Nellie was willing to work with patients with their care. One situation described in 1918 shows Leo Richmond, in the ‘Holcomb Hospital’, with his sister Nola assisting Nellie for the week.
In 1919 fire damaged the home of Nellie and the Holcomb Sanitarium. Volunteers were able to save the four patients and the home’s furnishings. Insurance helped pay for the repairs needed. In reporting the fire and damage, the Ledger stated that this business “has come to be a necessity in the community.”
When Nellie died in 1959 at 86 years old she had moved back to her home area of Sheridan, but she had left her mark of caring on Lowell.
Luz Maternity Hospital
For 18 years Magdalena Cook Luz ran a maternity hospital on East Main Street. The exact dates aren’t known, but many birth announcements during the 1930’s gave the location of ‘Luz Maternity Hospital.’
Today Lowell continues to be served by Doctors’ offices and soon will even have an urgent care center.