The Stanislaus Medical Society building was completed in 1979. Today, it is not only the home of the Medical Society, but also the Stanislaus Foundation for Medical Care and the Physicians Service Bureau.
(EXCERPT FROM STANISLAUS COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY, A BRIEF HISTORY BY JOHN A. COOPER, M.D.)
In 1848, California was ceded to the United States and
gold was discovered. In 1854, Governor Bigler set boundaries for Stanislaus
County which had previously been considered an almost valueless portion of
Tuolumne County. A Dr. Adams had founded the vanished county seat of Adamsville.
In 1871, the Central Pacific Railroad started the town of Modesto which became
the fifth county seat. Mention is made of such names as Jackson, Marks, Hall,
McLean and White as physicians. By January 31, 1895, fifteen physicians were
licensed to practice in the county. The old County Hospital had been built in
The Medical Society
W.J. Wilhite MD, First SMS President
With 1900, began an era of better roads, electricity, the telephone and the
automobile. In 1903, Dr. Surryhne built the first private hospital in Modesto.
Dr. Surryhne and Dr. F. DeLappe formed an informal society of two. Dr. J. C.
Robertson began practice in 1906. To Evans he was the “damned preacher” while
DeLappe was the “beardless youth”.
B.F. Surryhne MD, First SMS Secretary
By 1910, some sort of society was established with Dr. W. J. Wilhite as
president and Dr. B. F. Surryhne as secretary. Records of the State Society
established that in 1915 an organization of eight members existed with Dr.
Surryhne as president and Dr. S. W. Cartwright as secretary. Between 1916 and
1922, Dr. Reamer had served as president twice and as secretary four times. The
Society meetings usually took place at the Hotel Modesto and an average
attendance was between eighteen and twenty. Unfortunately, the records of the
local Society were lost before 1940.
Clara Finney MD, First Woman Doctor in SMS
The depression was acutely felt and during World War II, many of the doctors
were in service. Dr. Gant acted as president in 1941 and was unable to locate
the early records. In 1946, physicians returned from the services and new men
joined them. Prior to that time, the County had one G. U. man, a few E. E. N. &
T. men and several women physicians who tended to exclude adult males from their
clientele. Many of the new men had been trained in specialties, obstetrics and
gynecology, orthopedics, G. U., general surgery, internal medicine et cetera.