Buster Bounds shares local hospital history

By Buster Bounds

In 1991 the medical equipment in Shelby General Hospital was disassembled and shipped to the Ukraine, Russia. 

This project was started by the men’s bible class of First Baptist Church.  More of the story is on the video. And there is more of the story but has never been written.  (We sent an ambassador along with the equipment and he stayed in Russia a long time….)

So, in August 2020, 29 years later, the building has been razed and the land is being prepared for a new purpose.  I’ve got a little video of the building coming down but there is not much to see.

Local medical history

Medical science and service is evolving rapidly in rural East Texas. Early hospitals in Center, Texas, were the Warren Hospital, opened by Dr. Henry Warren and Dr. Walter Warren, was a two-story frame building on the corner of Travis and Thomas Streets.

Dr. Spencer Warren served that hospital - from opening his practice in 1938 - until it closed in 1959. The other early hospital was the Center Sanatorium located on Shelbyville Street and was primarily serviced by Dr. L. S. Oates in later years.

The Center Sanatorium was opened by Dr. T. L. Hurst in 1926. (Ref: The Champion News, page 1, October 1, 1959) Shelby County opened Shelby General Hospital on Hurst Street on October 1, 1959 – a modern one-story brick building with 39 beds – located on Hurst Street.

All local doctors serviced this hospital but primarily Dr. L. S. Oates and his son, Dr. Steve Oates. Within ten years the hospital was expanded but the voters were expressing displeasure about the debt. The hospital closed in the 1980s.

In 1991 the County sold all the equipment to the Texas Baptist Men’s organization who disassembled and shipped it to the Ukraine as a humanitarian act.

This video shows local men from First Baptist Church, Center, Texas who volunteered sweat equity to the project.

Memorial Hospital of Center – a private hospital also located on Hurst Street – was opened in March, 1967. It was owned by three local doctors (Doctors Mallory, Hooker, and Polk) along with a couple of local businessmen.

Memorial had 54 beds and would soon be the only hospital in Center after Shelby General closed. (Two videos are on this channel about Memorial Hospital.) After passing through several owners, Memorial was permanently closed in July 2013 and a new Pentecostal church is currently being built on the site.

At the time of this writing, March 2017, emergency medical services are being provided by a new clinic owned by Nacogdoches Medical Center Hospital. (see video of clinic construction) Services provided by this new clinic far exceeds any previously available to the citizen of Center and Shelby County but in-patient beds are no longer available.


The Light and Champion

137 San Augustine St.
Center TX 75935