The true milestones of progress in a municipality are elemosynary [sic] institutions well founded, well conducted and adding to the real good and well being of the whole community. Beautiful municipal buildings are not to be despised nor are other objects that combine the useful and the aesthetic. Beautiful wide streets are desirable, but the width may be of vastly more importance that the mere beauty because their width adds to the healthfulness of the town. Parks that are the lungs of a city are also desirable and for the same reason. An efficient sanitary force in poor uniforms are more useful than a poor force in fine uniforms. The ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and whatever adds to the store of the ounces is surely to be striven for.
But sometimes the ounce fails and the pound must be called in. And when the pound is needed a home-invironment [sic] that lends itself to the proper care; often it is ignorance. Nursing the sick has become a scence [sic] and an art and surgery and medicine have made such rapid strides that apparatus and appliances are now considered necessary that even wealth cannot always introduce into the bed room that has now become an arena when the old never ending contest between death and disease and life and health must be decided.
In many respects Knoxville has thrown off the swaddling-clothes of the village and put on the garments of the city but like other rapidly growing cities the mansion and the hovel may be situated upon the same square. thus, for instance, we have sewers but few house connections; the gas jet and arc light are within easy hailing distance of each other; we have physicians of commending ability — but no well organized, capably founded hospital! We have school houses wherein the mind may be strengthened by knowledge, churches where the soul may find relief and sore hearts made well but no building wherein the body, “the temple of the Holy Ghost,” may be made sound and well and fit for the dwelling place of the spirit, that beam of the Divine Flame.
In a town that contains so much of wealth as Knoxville, this state of affairs is almost a disgrace — certainly it is something to be deplored. If you think that a hospital is not needed ask your family physician about it the first time you are sick and he calls to see you. Let him tell you the stories that he has stored up in that memory of his — that memory that is a very reservoir of scenes of woe, suffering and the planer side of humanity with so comparatively few of high lights, so full of shadows.
Keep these thoughts in your minds. Or better still, let them into the pockets wherein you carry your money.
Source: Knoxville Daily Journal and Tribune, April 7, 1895, page 2