Dr. Warburton's Office
Dr. Warburton's Office in History Park (image from History San Jose)
The Warburton family circa 1900 (Dr. and Catherine Warburton seated on top step) (image from History San Jose)
Backstory and Context
A Pioneer Physician of
the Santa Clara Valley
Under Spain and before the 1840s, residents of the valley and elsewhere in California went to the Presidio in San Francisco for medical services. The first of the pioneer physicians was Dr. Benjamin Corey, who arrived to establish his practice in San Jose in 1847 (Dr. Corey's office no longer exists, but was located at 310 2nd Street) . The second was Dr. Henry Hulme Warburton, the first physician in the city of Santa Clara [1; 3; 4].
Warburton was born on May 23, 1819 in Staffordshire, England, and was educated first at Giggleswick in Yorkshire and then at the London Hospital Medical Institute, the fourth generation in his family to become a physician [1; 2]. He went into practice with his father, Dr. John Warburton, then departed for New York City in 1844. After practicing in New York for a year, Warburton moved on to Connecticut to embark on the whaling vessel Corea as ship's surgeon [2; 3]. The Corea sailed the northwest coast of North America, New Zealand, and the Sandwich Islands before docking in San Francisco's Half Moon Bay in 1847 [1; 2]. Here, Warburton resigned his commission aboard the ship to join the search for gold in the Sierra Mountains [1; 2; 3; 4]. After a brief and unsuccessful attempt at gold mining, the doctor settled in the small Catholic mission of Santa Clara and established his medical practice in 1848 [2; 3]. Warburton became one of the original members of the Santa Clara Odd Fellows Lodge 52, and when the city was incorporated in 1852, he became a Trustee [1; 2]. He married a widow, Mrs. Catherine Pennel (maiden name Long), in 1855, and the couple raised six children together, including an adopted daughter, Sarah Isabella . Dr. Warburton's practice spread across California and even into Oregon and Washington, visiting local patients on horseback and receiving patients who came from farther away in his office, constructed in 1870 [2; 3; 4]. He was regularly paid with cows and horses rather than cash, and also trained new doctors as they came to the area to settle [1; 3; 4]. Dr. Warburton practiced until his death in 1903 [3; 4].
Dr. Warburton's office was used by a series of other
physicians, as well as dentist Thomas Gallup, then as a law office from
1954-1964 [3; 4]. Threatened with demolition during an urban renewal project in
downtown Santa Clara, the historic office was rescued when Dr. Warburton's
grandson, Austin Den Warburton (an attorney, historian, and author) donated the
house to History San Jose in 1966 [1; 3]. The office was the first building to
be relocated to San Jose History Park, and became a city landmark for its
architectural and historical significance in 2009 [1; 3; 4].
2. Foote, H.S., ed. "HENRY HULME WARBURTON, M.D. To California in 1847." In Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888. Transcribed by Carol Lackey. http://mariposaresearch.net/santaclararesearch/SCBIOS/hhwarburton.html.
3. History San Jose. "Dr. Warburton's Office." Accessed January 8, 2017. http://historysanjose.org/wp/plan-your-visit/history-park/dr-warburtons-office/.
4. Swackhamer, Barry. "Dr. Warburton's Office: Home to an Early Santa Clara Valley Physician." Historical Marker Database. February 3, 2012. Accessed January 8, 2017. http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?MarkerID=52165.