Louise E. duPont Crowninshield establishes the Boca Grande Health Clinic on March 15, 1947, in a small room above the Railroad Depot where a doctor arriving on the train would treat patients weekly. Louise first came to Boca Grande in 1917. She spent 40 winters of her life here and in that time, touched the lives of nearly everyone on the Island.
The first official meeting of the Clinic’s board takes place and directors agree to spread the word that the Clinic is looking for a year-round on-island physician.
Roger Amory purchases a theatre building, and as Health Clinic Secretary, he makes a gift of full stock valued at that time at just over $19,500 in the “San Marco Movie Theatre” on Park Ave. It was his intention that the principal and interest would be used solely for the purpose of increasing the medical services available to the people of Boca Grande.
In 1949, the Boca Grande Health Clinic sets up shop in a space on the west side of the Fugate building on 4th Street. The Clinic pays Jerome Fugate (a founding member of the Clinic) $1,200 in rent each year and remains there until 1963.
In partnership with The Inn, Dr. James Ingram temporarily takes over Clinic operations and enjoys immediate popularity among Islanders. Although his pursuits would lead him elsewhere in the future, his relationship with the Clinic lasted his lifetime, and the Clinic flourished under his direction throughout the coming season.
A relationship with Duke University and its medical school begins for the procurement of doctors in training at the school to come to Boca Grande on a seasonal basis. The Island enjoyed the seasonal visits of such popular residents as Wilmer “Bill” Coggins and his wife, Deborah, who was also a doctor; Dr. Lyons; Dr. Longino; Dr. Williams and Dr. Elmer Schmierer.
Dr. George Fritz arrives in Boca Grande with his wife, Ann. Under his direction, the Clinic would flourish for 14 years. An avid fisherman and learner, it was said that what “time out” fishing allowed him to do, more than to catch tarpon, was to study his medical books and keep abreast of the latest breakthroughs in medical technology.
Louise E. duPont Crowninshield passes away following a prolonged illness.
Following the passing of Louise E. duPont Crowninshield, Frank Oliver is appointed as Clinic President. A noted journalist and international correspondent, Oliver made Boca Grande his home in 1946 when the car ferry or the railroad were the only ways to reach the Island. He guided the Clinic through its bad financial times, into a very colorful, fruitful era of achievement whereby the Clinic established a solid and permanent foundation for the future.
With the Clinic’s finances shored up thanks to community donations, focus resumes on improving services. In May the Clinic received a 1952 Buick ambulance complete with stretcher, oxygen, and equipment from the Edward R. Ponger funeral home in Punta Gorda, and a fleet of volunteers was organized to man the vehicle in times of emergency.
The Clinic purchases a 100 x 150 lot on the corner of 3rd and Park Avenue for $7,500 as the location to build a new facility that would be “the envy of the medical profession.” A building fund is established to raise $60,000 from the community.
The new building opens and remains the home of the Clinic Annex today.
The San Marco Theatre closes in 1967 and the movies are transferred to the Community Center.
Dr. George Fritz announces his departure and a search for a new physician ensues. Dr. Richard Henry arrives in the fall of 1970, and it is implied through the Clinic minutes that, although folks were sorry to see Dr. Fritz go, the transition was a smooth one.
Dr. Henry Livingston Wright takes over the Clinic and remains the only doctor on staff for 17 years.
The Clinic enters into an agreement with Venice hospital to provide the services of a physician during times when Dr. Henry Wright is away on vacation or attending medical meetings.
Nurse Deborah “Debby” Hahn joins the Clinic and remains a longstanding staff member and lead nurse, beloved by Island patients.
Dr. Henry Livingston Wright plans his retirement after 19 years of service to the Island.
Dr. Arthur Moseley becomes a part-time physician at the Clinic to support Dr. Wright, allowing the Clinic to expand the number of days service is provided.
The building of a new and improved Boca Grande Health Clinic begins in January of 1990. Designed by architect George Palermo, the Spanish-style building is completed and ready for occupancy by December 1990.The new Clinic building becomes a symbol of the Clinic’s mission to serve the present and future needs of the Boca Grande community while retaining the unique character and personal, caring attention that has been its legacy.
Dr. Richard Morrison, who after a long and distinguished career specializing in vascular and thoracic surgery in Venice, Florida, takes his long-time friend and golfing buddy Dr. Hank Wright’s advice and decides to give Boca Grande a try.
The Boca Grande Health Clinic Foundation is established to serve as a lifeline for the exceptional healthcare services provided by the Boca Grande Health Clinic. With the community’s generous support, the Foundation ensures the Clinic’s convenient, quality healthcare services continue to be available now and for generations to come.
The clinic moves from paper charts to an electronic health record to securely store patient information and provide an improved care experience
The Boca Grande 411 Coalition is formed to bring Island business leaders and the BG Pledge is borne as businesses and individuals vow to take preventive health and safety measures to keep the Island safe.
The clinic begins administering COVID-19 vaccines to patients via drive-through clinics.
The community gathers for a day of celebration and remembrance in recognition of the Boca Grande Health Clinic’s 75 years of continuous service to the people of Boca Grande.