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Call The Doctor! - Part III

Highlights of Healthcare in Old Town 1880-1908

Written by: Mary Bowlby

Originally published in the Eureka Times, 2013 Autumn issue

This is the last in a three-part series about healthcare and medicine in Old Town Tacoma.

The first post can be found here. The second post can be found here.

Two Lives Changed at Tacoma Hospitals

George Smith

The Fannie C. Paddock Memorial Hospital was dedicated in Tacoma in 1882. In 1886 a young man named George Smith, was brought into the emergency room. He had been injured in a mill accident. George was from Monroe, Michigan. He had worked his way west ending up in Tacoma. While recuperating from his injury he found that he liked helping patients and the hospital environment. He stayed on as an orderly working in the emergency room or in surgery..

George Smith in white coat with the first nursing school class at Tacoma General Hospital.

In 1895, the Fannie Paddock Memorial Hospital started a school of nursing and George Smith was the first to apply and graduated in 1897. At that time, nurses worked a twelve hour shift or more depending on the presence of typhoid fever or some other epidemic.

In 1901, the Fannie Paddock Memorial Hospital purchased an x-ray machine for $600.00. George Smith did all the x-ray work for the next 22 years. In the beginning, it took several hours to process an x-ray glass plate. In 1909 the hospital was forced to buy a new x-ray coil that cost $500.00. George Smith had no relatives that he mentioned and he lived at the hospital. At his death, his estate was left to the hospital.

-Frank Regos, MD (1962)

Andrew Guich

Andrew Guich was born in Milna, Brac Island, Yugoslavia. At the age of 12, he set out as a cabin boy on a sailing ship and saw much of the world before deciding that America was the place for him. In 1874, he worked his way to New York City as a seaman aboard a British ship. Once in New York, he worked as a barge operator, saloon keeper, grain elevator worker and a grocery store owner. He married at 25 to a girl fresh from Genoa, Italy and they had five children.

The family arrived in Tacoma in 1891 by steamer from San Francisco. After a time working at a mill in Gig Harbor, he settled in Old Tacoma and went to work as a cook at the Old Tacoma Emergency Hospital established by Dr. Spiro Sargentich. When the pair helped elect John W. Linck as Mayor in 1908, he rewarded the doctor with the position of City Health Officer and Andrew was made a deputy. The pair dealt with ridding the city of waterfront rats and real “greasy spoon" restaurants.

Andrew Guich, Tacoma

Andrew Guich, Tacoma

Andrew was fluent in multiple languages including Italian, Croatian and Greek. This knowledge helped him gain an appointment interrogating draftees at Camp Lewis at the start of World War I. After the war, he returned to his former job as a sanitation inspector until retiring in his seventies.

Andrew Guich was an active and founding member of the Slavonian American Benevolent Society in Old Town Tacoma. He was also committed to supporting local theater, attending performances of the Tacoma Little Theatre when they used the Slavonian Hall as their playhouse during the Great Depression. Andrew Guich lived to be 100.


Northwest Room, Tacoma Public Library

Carl Sargent, Sargent Family Historian

Cole Cosgrove, Media Relations, MultiCare

Diane Wells, Archivist, Diocese of Olympia

Jodi Gripp, Librarian, Northwest Room

Works Cited

..., "Making His Way," San Francisco Call, Volume 76, Number 91, 30 August 1894.

...,"The Paddock Memorial Hospital," The Churchman, Diocese of Olympia, Seattle WA; March 25, 1882.

Bates, Mildred, A House of Mercy: The History of Tacoma General Hospital, the Fannie C Paddock Memorial, Warren's Printing & Graphics; Olympia WA, 1977.

Gallacci, Caroline & Tacoma Historical Society, Old Tacoma, Acadia Publishing, South Carolina; 2007.

Paddock, The Rt. Rev. John A., "Appeal," newspaper publisher unkown.

Paddock, The Rt. Rev. John A., The Fannie C. Paddock Memorial Hospital, Tacoma, Washington Terr.; July 1885.

Regos, Dr. Frank, "A History of Radiology in Pierce County," 1962.

Sargent, Carl, Dr. Spiro Sargentich: A Man of Honor, Distinction & Dedication, self-published, 2013.

Whitney, Marci; Notable Women, Tacoma News Tribune, Tacoma, WA, 1977.