Last updated: January 18. 2014 3:37PM - 4421 Views
By Dan Pennington Special to the Democrat

Demolition on the old Haynie Hospital building began Monday morning.
Demolition on the old Haynie Hospital building began Monday morning.
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The Haynie hospital stood guard over Durant’s Main Street for nearly a century. Nestled humbly between a modern convenience store and another familiar landmark, the hospital was the place many residents today took their first breath. Hundreds of babies were “birthed” at the private hospital. Birth certificates read “Born at Haynie Hospital, Durant, Oklahoma.”

Memories of a childhood shot, “to cure what ails them,” administered by Dr. John A. Haynie, or later, his son, W.K. Haynie, is embedded in the memories of so many current and former residents.

Many routine operations were performed in the operating room of the 12-bed Haynie Hospital. Its laboratory diagnosed many illnesses and both Dr. Haynies and their nurses, provided medical care to area residents for years.

After its use as a hospital was finished, the structure at 508 W. Main St. later provided refuge for many women seeking relief from an unfortunate domestic situation. Russell Eggenberg, a Durant native, remembers and ironically credits, the building with “saving” his mother’s life. Phyllis Eggenberg spent 17 years, overnight, overseeing operations as assistant director of the Women’s Crisis Center there. One night, her dogs knocked over a heater at her home, resulting in her home being destroyed by fire. He said, “If she had been home that night, she most certainly would have lost her life.”

Years ago, stories reported during those women’s shelter days, told of a little girl and woman’s “ghost’ walking the halls at night. These stories spread so far, that a television show sent a crew here several years ago to investigate this folklore. No scientific basis was discovered for this, but the stories continue.

The hospital has a rich history in Durant. Its founder, Dr. John A. Haynie, was born in Mississippi in 1877. After marrying, he and his bride, Mary Eula, moved to Aylesworth, Indian Territory, where he practiced medicine and they had five children, Estelle, Weldon Keiller, Opal, Mildred and Morris Webster. In 1917, the Haynies established themselves in Durant. Dr. John Haynie then saw additional need for professional medicine in the area, and founded the hospital.

After graduating in 1936 from the Oklahoma University School of Medicine, Dr. W.K. Haynie followed in his father’s footsteps, and began practicing with his father in Durant. He continued the hospital operations after his father’s death in 1946. This is the Dr. Haynie so many remember today.

Dr. W.K. and his wife Lena were very active in Durant business and social life. Dr. W.K. Haynie and respected business leader Rector Swearengin, were on a board that governed the King’s Daughters and Sons Nursing Center. Dr. Haynie’s wife, a Registered Nurse, served as administrator.

The Haynie’s oldest daughter Estelle Haynie Marxsen was a teacher at McAlester and Wilburton. Opal Haynie served Durant as head librarian at the Robert L. Williams Library for more than 10 years. Morris Webster Haynie was the youngest son who served during World War II and the Korean War, and was wounded in both wars.

Their youngest daughter, Mildred, married Durant’s Lynn Marsh. “Bull” Marsh, as he was known, was a Southeastern graduate, a longtime coach and principal to many at Durant High School. Mildred Haynie Marsh taught at Durant Middle School for 28 years.

The founder, Dr. John and Mary Haynie, Dr. W.K. and Lena Haynie, and many family members, are buried in Highland cemetery. Many of their descendants still remain in this area in Oklahoma and in Texas.

At the time of is closing in 1967, The Haynie Hospital was one of only six privately owned hospitals remaining in the state. Medicare implementation in 1966 contributed to the hospital’s closing. Although the hospital closed, the building was still the site of the Dr. W.K. Haynie Clinic until sometime in the 1980s.

Then, its life was renewed with service as the women’s shelter, but the years have taken its toll on the landmark structure. The building had stood vacant for years, as it was not up to city code and funds were not available for its restoration and use.

The property’s legacy will continue though. On this site, Holmes-Coffey-Murray Funeral home will build, as an extension of their services for Durant, a chapel and meeting room. Durant residents are sad to see this stately fixture go, but their memories will remain in their hearts forever.

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