From 1921 to 1946, the house at 225 Salmon Brook Street was owned by Dr. Ernest Pendleton. From 1921 to 1928 Dr. Pendleton lived on the first floor with his family and ran a hospital on the second and third floors. He had an X-Ray room, surgery room, nurses’ quarters, and beds for over 20 patients. To make sure everyone in town could get a complete health check-up, he gave the physical exam and invited Dr. J. W. Shea, a dentist, to the hospital on Friday and Saturday mornings for dental updates.
Pendleton was ambitious, energetic and cared for his patients. As his patients were recovering, he cared for their physical well-being, so he set up a croquet lawn, a pond for swimming, horseback riding as well as a golf course.
First, he built an 18-hole course and later built a nine-hole course for women. The course was first used by patients only, but in 1927 the course was open to the public and became the Salmon Brook Golf Course in the area that is now Salmon Brook Park.
Pendleton made sure he cared for the health of his patients, but often was taken advantage of. His patients came from Massachusetts and New York and would stay for weeks at a time without paying their bills. Eventually, Pendleton was forced to close the hospital. Despite this major setback, Pendleton kept treating patients and the hospital would become a faded memory.
The closure of the hospital put Pendleton into significant debt, so he transformed the hospital on the second and third floor into apartments to help pay off the debt. In 1931 he bought the house at 265 Salmon Brook Street as rental property, and four years later lived there temporarily after his house at 225 Salmon Brook caught fire and needed repair. His bad luck continued that year when the golf course club house burned down. After suffering a heart attack in 1946, Pendleton sold his houses and moved back to Westfield, Mass. where he practiced medicine until he died in 1961 at the age of 84.
To learn more about the houses at 225 and 265 Salmon Brook Street, come to the Salmon Brook Historical Society virtual house tour during the month of October. To learn more about Dr. Pendleton, the hospital, or his golf course, join the Salmon Brook Historical Society by calling 860-653-9713 or go online at salmonbrookhistoricalsociety.com