In 1844, Rev. Horace Fletcher built a spacious house in Townshend, Vermont. The house remained in the Fletcher family, and in 1905, Harriet Fletcher invited Miss Mary Plumb, a teacher at Leland & Gray Seminary, to share her home. Miss Plumb inherited the house after Miss Fletcher's death. When she retired, she rented the downstairs to the new doctor in town, Dr. Carlos Otis and his wife, Ruth. From that day in 1938, for several years, it served as both home and doctor's office.
In 1949, Miss Plumb offered the house to Dr. Otis to fulfill his dream of opening a hospital. With the promise of a bequest from Dr. Otis' friend and neighbor, Dr. Abel Grout, the hospital was named after his wife, Grace. Other friends made substantial donations and sparked fund drives, and the community jumped in to form the Grace Cottage Hospital Auxiliary.
Grace Cottage Building Circa 1951Grace Cottage Hospital opened its doors on August 7, 1949. 830 people attended the Sunday afternoon opening and toured the hospital with nurses Bessie Leonard, Eunice Bills, Valerie Streeter, and Lillian Lyons, while cook Emma Castle showed off the new kitchen. Refreshments were served on the front lawn of the hospital. The first baby was delivered that night at 1:08 a.m. on August 8, 1949.
Within a year, Hattie Stratton's house next door was added as specified in her will, and in 1978, Ruth Heins donated her house next door to the growing hospital campus.
Dr. Otis served as hospital administrator until 1990, and as chairman of the board until he died in 1994.
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