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Alberta Sanitarium.

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Alberta Sanitarium

By Michael W. Campbell

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Michael W. Campbell, Ph.D., is North American Division Archives, Statistics, and Research director. Previously, he was professor of church history and systematic theology at Southwestern Adventist University. An ordained minister, he pastored in Colorado and Kansas. He is assistant editor of The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia (Review and Herald, 2013) and currently is co-editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Seventh-day Adventism. He also taught at the Adventist International Institute for Advanced Studies (2013-18) and recently wrote the Pocket Dictionary for Understanding Adventism (Pacific Press, 2020).

First Published: December 13, 2022

Alberta Sanitarium was a health institution, later called the Bethel Sanitarium, operated by the Alberta Conference and the Western Canadian Union Conference between 1903 and 1925 at Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 

Frank Lewis Hommel (1875-1964), a graduate of Battle Creek Sanitarium, came to Edmonton, Alberta, in 1903 where he began a private treatment center. This rented one-room venture expanded to a 28-room house located at 328 Third Street, the largest dwelling in Edmonton at the time, replete with electric lights and baths. The inability to make this venture profitable led Hommel to ask the Alberta Conference to take over its management. Initially church leaders were open to this possibility if the facility could be relocated to a new property. In 1909 a property was found two miles north of Lacombe where the Alberta Industrial Academy was moved to with the hope that soon a new facility could be built there for a sanitarium. The lack of resources meant that the institution was still “not under Conference control” in 1910.1 In addition, an unfortunate collapse in property values meant that the Alberta Conference abandoned such plans by 1912.2

Another treatment room was opened about 1911 in Calgary with support for both “treatment rooms” in Calgary and Edmonton by Hommel.3 Subsequently, Hommel passed management of the treatment rooms in Calgary to a “Brother” Logan for three years.4 The treatment rooms in Calgary were located at 328a Eighth Avenue West, Calgary and were managed by the conference beginning in June 1917. “Brother” and “Sister” Close managed the treatment rooms in Calgary beginning in 1917.

H. H. Humann reported that the Calgary rooms were self-supporting and distributed religious literature as well as medical treatment.5 Evidence indicates that the Alberta Sanitarium did prove an evangelistic tool converting at least a few to Adventism and providing medical care to, amongst others, denominational employees and their families.6

By 1917 the sanitarium in South Edmonton was located at 10132 Eighty-Seventh Avenue and was managed by the “Brother” Logan who had previously managed the Calgary treatment room7. The reopening of treatment rooms in Edmonton was a short-lived endeavor. In September of 1918, the Calgary facility became the Alberta (Bow River) Sanitarium located in Bowness Park on property formerly owned by a wealthy English gentleman and called the Hextall Estate. The Sanitarium continued to be managed by the Closes with Hommel serving as business manager.8 The 1919 to 1924 Year Books list the Alberta Sanitarium as an Adventist institution as part of the Alberta Conference and Western Canadian Union Conference.9 In 1919 the conference president noted that the sanitarium had “outgrown both our plans and its quarters.”10 In 1923 the Alberta Sanitarium was renamed the Bethel Sanitarium to avoid being confused with a similarly named government hospital in Calgary.11 A donation of $40,000 and a new property located in British Columbia, known as “Rest Haven,” for the same cost, meant that this facility in Calgary was ultimately closed in 1925 and church resources and personnel invested in that new facility instead.12

Sources

Alberta Sanitarium News.” Western Canadian Tidings, April 19, 1922.

Fitch, Edith. “CUC’s Advent Heritage.” Canadian Adventist Messenger, July 2000.

Hommel, F. L. “The New Location of the Alberta Sanitarium.” Western Canadian Tidings, September 18, 1918.

Humann, H. H. “Needs and Blessings of Our Sanitarium and Treatment Rooms.” Western Canadian Tidings, January 17, 1918.

Humann, H. H. “President’s First Biennial Report.” Western Canadian Tidings, August 1, 1918.

McVagh, C. F. “President’s Address.” Western Canadian Tidings, December 10, 1919.

“Sanitarium Changes Name.” Western Canadian Tidings, August 15, 1923.

Tetz, Myrna. “Looking at the Beginnings of Seventh-day Adventist Education in Canada.” Adventist Heritage (Winter 1992): 54-65.

Notes

  1. 1910 Year Book of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination: The Official Directories (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., [1910]), 179.

  2. Myrna Tetz, “Looking at the Beginnings of Seventh-day Adventist Education in Canada,” Adventist Heritage (Winter 1992): 54-65.

  3. H. H. Humann, “Needs and Blessings of Our Sanitarium and Treatment Rooms,” Western Canadian Tidings, January 17, 1918, 2-3.

  4. Ibid.

  5. H. H. Humann, “President’s First Biennial Report,” Western Canadian Tidings, August 1, 1918, 4.

  6. V. W. Robb, “Obituary,” Western Canadian Tidings, September 4, 1918, 7; “Alberta Sanitarium News,” Western Canadian Tidings, April 19, 1922, 2; “Alberta Sanitarium News,” Western Canadian Tidings, August 23, 1922, 6.

  7. H. H. Humann, “Needs and Blessings of Our Sanitarium and Treatment Rooms,” Western Canadian Tidings, January 17, 1918, 2-3; Advertisement, Western Canadian Tidings, February 14, 1918, 8.

  8. F. L. Hommel, “The New Location of the Alberta Sanitarium,” Western Canadian Tidings, September 18, 1918, 1-2.

  9. Year Book of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination: The Official Directories 1919 (Washington, D.C.: Review & Herald Publishing Association, [1919]), 111; Year Book of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination: The Official Directories 1920 (Washington, DC: Review & Herald Publishing Association, [1920]), 125; Year Book of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination: The Official Directories 1921 (Washington, D.C.: Review & Herald Publishing Association, [1921]), 196.

  10. C. F. McVagh, “President’s Address,” Western Canadian Tidings, December 10, 1919, 1.

  11. “Sanitarium Changes Name,” Western Canadian Tidings, August 15, 1923, 8; Year Book of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination: The Official Directories 1924 (Washington, D.C.: Review & Herald Publishing Association, [1920]), 82, 244; Year Book of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination: The Official Directories 1925 (Washington, D.C.: Review & Herald Publishing Association, [1925]), 260.

  12. Edith Fitch, “CUC’s Advent Heritage,” Canadian Adventist Messenger, July 2000, 10-11. See also denominational yearbook institutional listings Year Book of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination: The Official Directories 1925 (Washington, DC: Review & Herald Publishing Association, [1925]), 260; listings Year Book of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination: The Official Directories 1926 (Washington, D.C.: Review & Herald Publishing Association, [1926]), 93.

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Campbell, Michael W. "Alberta Sanitarium." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. December 13, 2022. Accessed February 20, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DJKH.

Campbell, Michael W. "Alberta Sanitarium." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. December 13, 2022. Date of access February 20, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DJKH.

Campbell, Michael W. (2022, December 13). Alberta Sanitarium. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved February 20, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DJKH.