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Living Block

Doctor's Office circa 1890s

Historical Significance

The country Doctor’s Office was originally located in Fleta, Alabama, a small farming community south of Montgomery. Dr. Thomas David Duncan built this office in his parents’ yard when he graduated from Alabama Medical College in Mobile in 1892 and continued to practice from there until his death in 1938. A doctor was a very important person in rural communities, and, in addition to his role as medical doctor, he often took on the role of dentist, pharmacist, and veterinarian in order to serve the needs of his community and patients. Dr. Duncan treated most of his patients in their home, traveling to see them by horseback, horse and buggy, and finally by automobile. He accepted payment in whatever his patients were able to give from eggs to loads of corn and wood. In this small building he kept his tools and instruments, mixed medicines for his patients, and kept track of his accounts. Dr. Duncan was also very active in many community agricultural and civic concerns.

Architectural Significance

This simple structure was built especially for the task of a country doctor’s office with its unpainted horizontal board walls with lots of shelving for bottles and other supplies. The entrance on the inset porch as well as a back door provide the opportunity for air circulation and light.

The artifacts and furnishings are those of Dr. Duncan, Dr. William Tankersley, and other members of the medical community. With the help of the local families of these two doctors and the Montgomery Medical Auxiliary, Landmarks Foundation moved and restored the building.