When Macklin's first bank manager, Frank W. Shaw, decided to build a home for himself and his wife in 1919 his plans were on a much grander scale than those of other residents of the area. The resulting house with its wide veranda and many windows was the ultimate in gracious living in a small prairie town. It did not remain for long however, as Mr. Shaw died just two years after its completion. This grand home was to have a completely different, but very important role in the community.
Until then, medical services for the area were ably provided by Dr. Francis Elliott,
without hospital and trained nursing staff. The flu epidemic of 1918 - 19, convinced
Dr Elliott that both were urgently needed. In 1922 under the leadership of Father
Palm O.M.I., the dream of a hospital became a reality. The Franciscan Sisters
of St. Elizabeth in Humbolt agreed to purchase the Shaw house and start St Joseph's
Hospital. Macklin seemed like the logical place for a hospital since it was at
the junction of two major railways. Travelling by rail was the most expedient
mode of transportation, and there were 10 to 12 trains through Macklin each day,
4 of them passenger trains. The Shaw house was converted into a ten bed cottage
hospital and opened it's doors in May, 1922. On the main floor was the kitchen,
as it is today. The Dining Room became the Maternity Ward. The Living Room became
the Ladies Ward. What is now the gift shop was the Confinement and Emergency
Room. Upstairs, what now are our Hospital Room and our Variable Display Room,
were the Men's Ward. The Church and School Rooms were once the Recovery Room.
The Train Room was the Operating Room. At the time there were two north windows
for light and a sterilizer and washbasins were added.
It soon became apparent that the house was too small and would be considered only temporary. Within the first six months of the hospital's openeing, 172 patients were admitted. In 1924 Dr. Eid came to Macklin from Germany at the request of Dr. Elliott, Dr. Chapin and Father Plam. With Dr. Eid in residence to perform surgery, patients flooded into the small hospital. In 1925, 584 patients had been admitted and 62 babies had been delivered. The sisters were taxed to the limit with the large number of patients. A move from the basement to better living quarters in a nearby house helped, as did the addition of two small houses, one for isolation and the other a morgue.
In 1926, Dr. Eid returned to Germany to marry his fiancee Johanna. Father Palm accompanied him on the journey. Together they gathered ideas for the new hospital already under construction. Mrs Eid stayed behind in Germany after Dr. Eid had returned, to learn how to operate the X-Ray machine that she and Father Palm brought back with them to Macklin.
By April 1927, the new Hospital was in operation and a new era was about to begin for the big house. Dr Eid saw it as a home for his family and purchased it. It would be known as the Eid House for the next 60 years. Like all homes, there were good times and sad ones. The loss of their first child and their second child's precarious health were countered by the joy of their third child, Thomas, who followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a surgeon, specializing in urology.
As the depression years wore on, the Eid House became the center of activity for the Community Club, as plans were made for plays and concerts to be put on for the enjoyment and entertainment of all. There were always choir pieces and solos to practice. Dr. Eid was an accomplished violinist and pianist and Johanna wanted to embark on an opera career before she came to Canada.
The Eid House has retained it's character and charm over the years. Though Dr Eid passed on in 1968, his sign still hangs by the front door. In 1988 a fund-raising campaign to purchase the Eid House as the Macklin & District Museum Board began and the building was fully paid for by November 1995.
Through the many years the house has stood in Macklin, it has become an integral part of those who have lived in the town and the surrounding district. It embodies part of the past, the pioneering spirit, sacrifices and endurance of our forefathers. It all started in a small prairie town....
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