Medical care in early Destin

A Historical Mystery by HC “Hank” Klein

A reader recently asked me which hospital I went to before there were cars, paved roads, and bridges connecting Destin to Panama City and Pensacola. In our historical mystery this month, he examines how people living in Destin got their health care a century ago, before the roads and bridges connecting Destin to the mainland.

Destin was a very small fishing village before 1940. In fact, according to the Federal Census, only 166 people lived in Destin in 1930. It didn’t have enough population to feed hospitals and doctors. From 1851, when Leonard Destin first arrived at his point Moreno, Destin was like an island in itself, until the construction of the bridge and road (Highway 98) in the late 1930s. The people who live there just had to make do.

Enzor Brothers Hospital in Crestview.

The first doctor I found living in the area was Dr. McGriff, who lived in Bogie (now Niceville). An article in the Okaloosa News-Journal (Crestview 9 April 1920): A lame boy in a lumber mill said: His right hand was sawed off and Dr. McGriff discovered that his index finger had to be amputated, but saved his thumb and other fingers.

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