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Medical Arts



The arts of medicine in Agincourt and vicinity are at least partially delineated in the lives of early practitioners like Doc Fahnstock (our answer to Doc Adams from “Gunsmoke”) and Sissy Beddowes, the Sac and Fox medicine woman whose knowledge of herbs and roots got her a gig at the College of Homeopathy in Chicago.The larger picture of orthodox medicine, however, is yet to be told. For me, the obvious beginning is to imagine a building.

Our earliest hospital was called “Luke, the Physician.” [Strange name for a hospital, but you should also know that I was born in a suburban Chicago facility named The Little Company of Mary. So back off.] Luke’s origins are murky at present. But the project for a Depression era replacement occurred when Luke moved beyond the original townsite to Broad Street north of Highway 7. The architecture of the Great Depression intrigues me, so this is as good a time as any to engage the odd criteria for solving architectural problems circa 1936.

Designing the Medical Arts Building will put me in the era of Art Deco and the Moderne, neither of which I understand in practice. Yes, I can recognize one when I see it, but making one is another story. Any suggestions?

Insofar as programme is concerned, I’ll have to understand the number of medical practitioners in a town of Agincourt’s size in the 1930s and how broadly based they might have been. Would there have been a homeopath in their numbers? Would dentists have been welcome tenants? And just how large was Agincourt’s service area? The Fahnstock clan was still around (Howard had a brush with Death when Forrest Fahnstock caused a car wreck five or so years ago), though I’ll bet the second and third generations of that family have frittered away their social capital and become little more than eccentrics and hangers on. There’s certainly a story there but not the one I want to tell at present.

Incidentally, I hope you enjoy the two-page spread from my sketchbook (volume 4).

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