From 1936 until only a few weeks before her death in 1962, Eleanor Roosevelt wrote a regular newspaper column called "My Day." Sixty years ago today, on May 11, 1953, she wrote about a visit to the Rip Van Winkle Clinic here in Hudson. The clinic, which had been founded by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, who served as its medical director, was six and a half years old when the former First Lady visited it in 1953, and it was located at 454 Warren Street.
Roosevelt described the clinic's location and operation:
It is an old house taken over and rearranged to meet the needs of a medical building. An addition is now going up. . . .
The staff at the clinic consists of two surgeons, an obstetrician, medical men, dentists, a psychiatrist and various other specialists. Each has an office, from which they go out on stated days to the two branches already established in Hillsdale and Philmont. A new branch in Germantown will be established in July.Eleanor Roosevelt declared the clinic "one of the most exciting achievements in medical care for this type of community, and it seems to be very satisfying to the medical men themselves."
As reported in the Knickerbocker News on July 22, 1964, the Rip Van Winkle Clinic "was set up to provide residents of the rural county with a wide variety of medical experts at a price all could pay. If they couldn't pay, they were treated free." In the summer of 1964, "doomed by a $2 million deficit," the Rip Van Winkle Clinic closed its doors.