Dr. Lawrence Skinner impacted the medical community in the mid 1940s and helped provide medical care and minor surgery to the bedroom of community of farmers. His clinic started in a backwoods area in the Lakes District and later became a state-of-the-art facility in just a few years.
The story of medical service in Lakewood started when the area had open fields, two-lane streets and no traffic lights. Cows roamed the landscape. The date was 1946. The place was slowly developing into Lakewood. Skinner helped give birth to that it, watching it grow as his medical practice began to flourish.
Skinner started his Lakewood Clinic to provide basic medical care and minor surgery to the bedroom community of farmers. His red brick medical office sat on Gravelly Lake Drive across the street from Park Lodge. The location is now a bank.
Skinner was also the Clover Park High School football medical trainer, sitting at the sidelines during the games in case a player got injured on the gridiron. He took care of patients throughout the entire week. Skinner answered calls night and day, rain or shine. Lakewood had no 911, ambulance response or all-night emergency room.
The city relied upon Skinner.
He reportedly loved the work, but he also had bigger dreams. A 1958 article published in the Sunday Ledger was titled “Pioneer surgeon and physician in the Lakes District." It outlined his dreams of modern and comprehensive medical treatments for his rural patients.
That dream later became Lakewood General Hospital.
The state-of-the-art building housed 110 beds and splashed its way in local newspapers during the planning and construction process. The nearly $2 million building at Bridgeport Way and 100th Street was dedicated April 30, 1961.
The non-profit facility became the center of Lakewood. St. Clare Hospital bought the building, and it was abandoned in the late 1980s. The hospital served the Lakewood community for 28 years until it was replaced by a new hospital at 11315 Bridgeport Way in 1989. The property is now the Lakewood Pavilion.