Verser Clinic Hospital

54
City/Town: Harrisburg
Location Class: Hospital
Year Built: 1949
Year Abandoned: 1973
Status: AbandonedEndangeredNational Register of Historic Places
Photographer: James Kirkendall

264718_140483446029206_6625161_nIn January 1949, the Verser Clinic Hospital was opened by Dr. Walter William (W.W) and son Dr. Joe Verser. It was a twenty-five bed facility housed in the former First Baptist Church of Harrisburg Arkansas. Three of the back rooms in the clinic were made into an apartment for Dr. Joe and his wife to live in. They lived there for thirteen years. Patients would sit down at his breakfast table and discuss their ailments.

In 1947 Dr. Joe joined his father (W.W) on the Arkansas State Medical Board which is a licensing and disciplinary board for physicians. Dr. Joe became secretary in 1949 and remained as such for 43 years until he retired from the position in 1991.

Dr. Joe Verser was one of the 18 founders of Arkansas Bluecross, Blue Shield in 1949. The program offered for individuals, hospital and surgical benefits for $1.85 a month. Families regardless of the size had the same benefits for $4.35 month.

The Verser Clinic Hospital had x-ray facilities, diathermy, ultra violet light equipment, electrocardiograph, basal metabolism machine, air-condition operating room, delivery room, nursery, elevator, complete laundry equipment room, kitchen and a intercommunication system consisting of the nurses master station with speakers in each patient’s room.

Verser Hospital closed in 1973 and Dr Joe saw patients needing hospital care at Cross County Hospital in Wynne or Methodist Hospital in Jonesboro. He was chief of staff at Methodist hospital, 1978-1979. Even though an exact count was not recorded, it was estimated that he delivered over 5,000 babies. He said “It wasn’t that I was that good, I was just cheap, affordable, and available.” He was paid $2 for the first baby he delivered.

On February 3, 1994 while sitting at his desk in an exam room, completing paperwork for a patient, Dr Joe Verser passed away at the age of 81. He had practiced medicine for 57 years.

The Verser Clinic Hospital is now owned by the Poinsett County Historical Society. Ms. Sylvia Evans (Executive Director of Publications, PCHS, Editor of Historical Books and Quarterly) wishes to preserve and restore the building to be the future home of the Poinsett County Museum. The Verser Clinic Hospital has now been nominated to be listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

Poinsett County Library, Poinsett County Historical Society
Special Thanks: Ms. Sylvia Evans, Daniel Vincent Evans Parten, Brandon Hendrix

Caution: Permission was granted in order to photograph the Verser Clinic Hospital. The building is locked and patrolled by city and county law enforcement.

54 Comments

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  4. Touched so many lives. Hope it can be restored, hate that it is in such bad shape. So much history in that building.

  5. Donna Bolden on

    I was born there in September of 1959!! Sewed my hand up when I was in 6th grade and put a cast on my arm the same year!! Lots of memories from that place! Would love to see it restored!!

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  10. If a non profit group was put together in each community and everybody donated a few dollars a month it would be amazing and might help get buildings restored. There could be a community gathering to help with some clean up and minor repairs. I think there should be more community envolvement to keep historic buildings from falling into disreapair.. In the old days people got together to help the community and we have forgotten how to do that.

  11. Nancy Jones Romans . I was born there in January 11 – 1949. Had a daughter there August 16-1968 . Hate to see it rotting down.

  12. My Mother Emma Jean Wesner worked at the Clinic for many years. She helped to deliver many Babies while working there. It was a JOY for her to go to work everyday because she had such a Big Heart. Thank you Mother for all you did for so many people. I know you are looking down and reading when these people were born saying I remember that.

  13. Faye Lesley Chamblis on

    I was born in Verser Clinic and delivered by Joe Verser on February 20, 1951. I have spent many days sitting in the waiting room to see the doctor, later Dr. Forrester, as they did not take appts. Many memories in this building. These doctors actually made house calls. They took care of my grandparents, Joe and Jenny Deckelman; my parents Nannie and Lovett Lesley, and myself. Lots of memories flooding my mind at this moment of this clinic.

  14. My mother Ara Garner Worked there for many years. Dr Joe took out my tonsils and appendix. I have many memories of Verser Clinic.

  15. Marolyn Robbins-G. on

    For those of you who wish to re-live a bit of your history, please know that the contents of Dr. Verser's Clinic were donated to the Marked Tree Delta Area Museum and are on display there in rooms replicating a patient room, the emergency room, the operating room and Dr. Verser's office.
    Regular museum hours are 1:-4:00 pm on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday afternoons, excepting holidays.
    Arrangements can be made for special tours by calling 870-358-4998.

  16. teressa Mcillwain on

    Got my first set of stitches busted my head open that where I got sewed up somewhere around 1972 my name is teressa mcillwain

  17. I was born in the clinic before the hospital in 1947. The place needs to be preserved instead of rotting down, to many old buildings are gone now in towns in Arkansas.

  18. Why is there an orange body outline on the floor of the room with the green-outlined window? Was this the scene of a crime?

  19. Roberta Sivley on

    I live in Mount Ida AR and my doctor here is Michael Verser. I wonder if they are related. I will have to ask next time I see him.

  20. Dottie Kilgore on

    I seen the doctors that work there many times when I was a child . I would love to visit once they restore it, I pray it gets restored.

  21. Belinda Downen on

    Unfortunately during our stay in Harrisburg for 1 1/2 yrs. while Daddy was in Vietnam my mother was inpatient there several times due to asthma, she never had it till we moved there, but we were living by the railroad tracks next to the cotton gin, loved it there.

  22. Mae Batchelder on

    All four of my children was born at this clinic . My heart hurt when I saw all of the damage that was done to this clinic in the name of 'HALLOWEEN" and so glad that it will not be torn down. This clinic is very special to a lot of us.

  23. Connie Morris on

    I was born here in February of 1949. I sincerely hope it is restored. I would dearly love to go inside and actually stand inside the room that my mother was in after I was born. My mother stills lives in Harrisburg so I drive by the clinic every time that I visit her. Have even taken numerous pictures of the outside of the clinic.

    • Not only were you born there Mom but Grandma said that Great Grandma Summers used to work there. I've walked up to the building before & stood looking in the kitchen window & tried to imagine it full of life. I'd LOVE to see this building restored!

  24. In Harrisburg, Ar. half of the residents were delivered by Dr. Joe during his active practice, the other half by his partner-Dr. Forrester (?) in this very clinic. It was a huge benefit to the community, citizens, and North East Arkansas. Being a rural farming community, Verser Clinic was the only medical treatment center in the area for "Affordable Healthcare". I'm sure they saved many lives & helped to keep Harrisburg a thriving town & the county seat while accepting whatever the patient could pay. Thank You to all those that worked at Verser Clinic, & bless those of us that endured an injection from one of the physicians…..they were healers but not always the most patient…..lol……………………..LAC

  25. Did it reopen to be a clinic at sometime because I can remender wen I was is the 5th and 6th grade going for a physical and getting shots….that was in 93 & 94

  26. Dana Spencer on

    Dr. Joe gave his life serving others. He was a wonderful doctor. It's a shame this building was allowed to get in this state of disrepair. I hope your endeavors for making it a museum are successful. Wouldn't it be great if some free gratis medical service, once a month, be offered to the community in his memory? It might open up some grant money; just a thought.

  27. Ronda Harper on

    I was born there. I remember the black and white tile floor, the front waiting room and the long hall with the elevator. Glad to hear that it will be restore it.

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