Among the visitors on opening day of the Gardner Historical Museum’s current exhibit, ‘Dr. Reece and the Gardner Hospital’, was Scott Garrie, director of parks and recreation for the city of Gardner. The exhibit opened on March 18 and will run through mid-April. A doctors lab jacket and a stethoscope are among the many items on display . Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz


Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
Anytime you talk about Gardner history with people who have deep family roots here, one name seems to come up more than any other, and that is Dr. Reece. March 18 was opening day for ‘Dr. Reece and the Gardner Hospital, a new exhibit at the Gardner Historical Museum. The exhibit will run through mid-April.
Dr. Reece delivered 2,247 babies during his 47-year medical career. One of those deliveries is current Johnson County Sheriff Calvin Hayden.
With the exception of a few years away while serving in WW2, Reece’s medical career was all in Gardner.
He delivered babies in Gardner in the 30’s and 40’s and in the 50’s and 60’s delivered their babies.
He opened Reece Hospital in 1934. It was located on the south side of Shawnee Street between Elm and Sycamore streets and was the first licensed hospital in Johnson County.
In the early 1960s, he convinced community members to invest in a new hospital – the Gardner Community Medical Center. It was located at the west end of town, where Meadowbrook Rehabilitation facility is now.
The exhibit fills the two main rooms of the museum and features personal items used by Dr. Reece, including a white lab jacket, a stethoscope and books from his library. There are photos, newspaper clippings, items donated by Dr. Reece’s family and a variety of other items.
His daughter Katharine has authored a book about her father and his life in Gardner entitled “The Man in the Fedora.” She has worked with the Gardner Historical Museum many times in the past.
In addition to memorabilia about Dr. Reece, the exhibit includes a look at ‘Medicine in the 1930’s and 40’s.’
Sue Gardner took on the job of gathering, organizing and preparing the materials for display. The exhibit runs through mid-April.
The museum will also be hosting a Bunco tournament fundraiser on April 1. Doors open at 5 p.m. for training and silent auction bidding. The bunco tournament begins at 6:15 p.m.. Winner will split the cash prize 50-50 with the museum.
On Wednesday, April 19, at 1:00 p.m., the museum is sponsoring a presentation by Diane Eickhoff, entitled ‘Women Soldiers of the Civil War.” That event will be held in the meeting room at the public library in Gardner, 137 E Shawnee Street.