A rainy Sunday afternoon brought three medical men – Dr. Walter H. Brown, Dr. William J. Wilkinson, and Dr. Alfred E. Fretz – together at a home in Richlandtown. An earnest discussion regarding the future of medical care for the people in the area extending from Quakertown to Lansdale brought about a decision to bring the matter before the North Penn Clinical Society. Interest in the new idea grew from physicians present at local monthly Society meetings, and the property – which was comprised of a large home, a small frame dwelling, a small storage house, a barn, and the surrounding farm land – previously in operation as a private sanitarium by Dr. James Pursell, was purchased as the site of the new Grand View Hospital.
“…a group of people foresaw the helplessness of a community which depended solely on distant cities for their hospital needs. They felt that, in the case of urgency, where life and death depended upon immediate hospital attention, it would be criminal to shirk this responsibility any longer. A small beginning was the result – establishing the small building near the present site as a private sanitarium. It was chartered by a group of physicians with a capital of $10,000.00.”
The hospital consisted of eight small rooms. First floor – reception room, operating room, two bedrooms, and kitchen; second floor – three bedrooms, a tiny bathroom, and a narrow stairway. During the early days of the hospital, there were no established fees or charges for rooms or nurses’ services, use of the operating room, surgeons’ fees or other medical attention. Each patient’s payment was made to fit their financial rating. Any budget deficiencies were paid by the physicians.
- From History of Grand View Hospital by Walter J. Hendricks
These four doctors, members of the Grand View Hospital Staff, have given over 134 years of service to the hospital. Doctors Grim, Moyer, and Strouse are founders of the hospital. Doctor Paulus joined the staff in 1918 after serving in the Army. Each served as head of the respective department,— Doctor Grim, Chief of the Department of Surgery for 25 years; Doctor Moyer, Chief of the Department of Anaesthesia for 31 years; Doctor Paulus, Chief of the Department of Medicine for 21 years; and Doctor Strouse, Chief of the Department of Roentgenology and Physiotherapy for 34 years.
A potent force in the Pennsylvania State Medical Society House of Delegates, and instrumental in having passed the law licensing physicians and having the R.N. title awarded nurses graduating from approved Schools of Nursing, Dr. Carrell was licensed to practice medicine in Pennsylvania when the law was first adopted. Dr. Carrell helped initiate and edit the first Bucks County Medical Monthly in 1910, and continued to act as editor of the publication for the next 20 years. Dr. Carrell, from a long line of distinguished Bucks County families, was a historian, genealogist and writer who published several books on the history of the community, the Revolutionary War and the beginnings of the area’s medical societies. Elected president of the Bucks County Medical Society in 1906, Dr. Carrell was honored by the Pennsylvania State Medical Society as a “50 year” practitioner in 1933. Toward the end of his life, Dr. Carrell was named the oldest known physician in Pennsylvania and the oldest living Alumnus of Jefferson Medical College.
President of the Grand View Hospital Association, Dr. Fretz also taught Obstetrics and General Medicine to nursing students at Grand View’s Nurse’s Training School. Outstanding in civic affairs, it was largely due to Dr. Fretz’s efforts that Grand View Hospital was established. He served on the Sellersville School Board for 20 years, was active in the Masonic and Odd Fellow Lodges, was one of the surgeons for the North Penn Branch of the Reading Railroad, and was among the founders and former presidents of the Sellersville Kiwanis Club. Dr. Fretz joined the Bucks County Medical Society in 1897 and served as its president in 1909. The son of local doctor and founding member of Grand View
A trustee and treasurer of Grand View Hospital since its beginning, Dr. Fretz began his medical practice in Sellersville in the late 1860s, and continued until he gave up the practice to his son, Alfred E. Fretz, M.D., in 1903. Dr. Fretz was active in local community organizations throughout his life, acting as school director for 15 years, musician and choir director for 50 years, and president of the Sellersville National Bank for 33 years. Dr. Fretz was a hobby botanist who prepared the chapter concerning the flora of the county for the 1902 edition of Davis’ Bucks County History and donated his large herbarium of 8,000 dried specimens to the Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia. Dr. Fretz joined the Bucks County Medical Society in 1868. Dr. Fretz was also a member of the American Medical Association, the Pennsylvania State Medical Society and the North Penn Clinical Society.
Initially an assistant surgeon, Dr. Grim became chief of surgery in 1923 and continued in that capacity until 1947. Dr. Grim taught the Materia Medica courses in the Nurse’s Training School, and served the hospital for a total of 50 years on both active and emeritus status. Dr. Grim was an active member of the area’s medical community, serving as president of the Bucks County Medical Society in 1926 and the North Penn Clinical Society for two years, and as a consulting surgeon at Norristown State Hospital. Dr. Grim was a member of the American Medical Association, served as a delegate of the State Medical Society of Pennsylvania for five years and became a lifetime Fellow of the American College of Surgeons in 1930. Dr. Grim served as 1st Lieutenant in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army during World War I.
Licensed to practice medicine in Pennsylvania in 1885, Dr. Meyers began his general practice in Blooming Glen, where he remained for the rest of his life. Dr. Meyers joined the Bucks County Medical Society in 1887 and, had he lived seven months longer, might have appeared on the rostrum with Dr. Carrell at the Centennial Celebration, rounding out 61 years of membership next to Dr. Carrell’s 50 years. In 1894, Dr. Meyers was elected president of the Bucks County Medical Society, serving one year, and, due to his remarkable skill as a writer and recorder of current events, served continuously as secretary for the next 40 years and treasurer for 26 years. For more than a half century, Dr. Meyers never missed a meeting.
Influential in the organization of Grand View Hospital, Dr. Moyer achieved an outstanding reputation as a superb medical practitioner with the highest of ideals. Dr. Moyer served as preceptor for many young medical students prior to their admission to medical school, most notably his nephew William G. Moyer, M.D., who partnered with him for several years before moving to Quakertown and establishing a practice there. The father of 12, several of Dr. Moyer’s children and grandchildren became doctors, including his sons Herbert and Paul, who took over their father’s practice and maintained a partnership for more than 20 years. During his life, Dr. Moyer was an active member of the North Penn Clinical Society.
Dr. Moyer organized the Department of Anesthesia and served as its chief from 1913 to 1948. Dr. Moyer’s entire life would be dedicated to the improvement of the hospital and would earn him the sobriquet, “Mr. Grand View.” The local chairman of the 1926 Fund Raising Campaign started to enlarge the hospital, Dr. Moyer had an uncanny ability to raise funds for small, but necessary, projects and equipment for the hospital. He was instrumental in carrying the hospital through the Great Depression, making adjustments with creditors on necessary items like fuel oil, grocery and milk bills, and often made cash settlements from his personal accounts. Active with the local Bucks County Medical Society and North Penn Clinical Society, Dr. Moyer also served as Grand View’s Secretary of Staff from 1932 to 1936 and President of Staff from 1938 to 1941. Dr. Moyer served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War I, and was discharged as a 1st Lieutenant.
Dr. Pursell was an eye specialist who opened a convalescent home and sanitarium on his Sellersville property called Grand View. After years of labor, Dr. Pursell decided to retire and sold his property to a group of local doctors who wished to start a community hospital in the North Penn area.
Secretary of the Grand View Hospital Association and one-time Chief of Staff of the Hospital, Dr. Strouse was responsible for the first x-ray and physiotherapy services, and continued as chief of the Roentgenology Department until 1948. Dr. Strouse taught Anatomy at Grand View’s Nurse’s Training School, and conducted a general practice in the Perkasie area. Dr. Strouse was the editor of the Bucks County Medical Monthly from 1937 to 1941, and served terms as president of the North-Penn Clinical Society and the Bucks County Medical Society. Dr. Strouse was a World War I veteran, serving the U.S. Army’s medical department for one year and discharged with the rank of 1st Lieutenant.
Dr. Weierbach organized the Department of Ear, Eye, Nose and Throat (Otolaryngology) in 1922 and served as chief of the department until his death. Inducted into the American College of Surgeons on October 21, 1932, Dr. Weierbach was the second member of the Grand View staff to receive this honor. Dr. Weierbach served as president of the Bucks County Medical Society and the North Penn Clinical Society, and was a member of the staff of the Quakertown Community Hospital. Tragically, Dr. Weierbach was stricken with a heart attack at Grand View Hospital as he was preparing to deliver a lecture at the School of Nursing in 1948, and a subsequent heart attack caused his death a few days later.
With a medical practice in Applebachsville, Dr. Weisel was a founding member of both Grand View Hospital and Quakertown Community Hospital. Dr. Weisel became a member of the Bucks County Medical Society in 1913, serving as its president in 1930, and also served as president of the North Penn Clinical Society. A vital member of the Quakertown community, Dr. Weisel was an active member of the Quakertown Board of Education and was president of the Quakertown Board of Health. Dr. Weisel associated in practice of medicine with his son, Dr. William F. Weisel, Jr.
Surgeon and hospital superintendent from 1913 to 1922, Dr. Wilkinson was a central figure at Grand View for a number of years. He taught Surgery and Bacteriology classes at the Nurse’s Training School. In his early days, gloves were not used during surgeries, and Dr. Wilkinson developed a severe infection after performing an operation that disabled him for several weeks. During Word War I, with limited staff available, Dr. Wilkinson assumed responsibility for all surgeries, and moved into the large home at Grand View to be relieved of night duty.
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