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Matamoras Minute: Dentistry

The Gautschi building on the right in the picture displays the shingle of Dr. Ed Gautschi, D.D.S. In addition to the other businesses in the building, a brother, Bill, operated his barber shop there. (Photo Provided)

The profession of dentistry has a long history in Matamoras. Early in the 1880s Dr. Madison Williamson opened a dentist office on the lower end of Third Street near the school house. He then moved to an office on Main Street. About 1888 he left town to set up a practice in Moundsville, West Virginia.

A few years later Dr. J.K. Ferguson began making visits to Matamoras with his office at the Greene Hotel. About that time a Dr. Lemming opened an office in a recently built structure on the corner of Main and Front Streets. Jacob Grohs had built the structure after a fire destroyed an earlier wholesale and liquor store in 1874 and soon after sold the building to Jacob Gautschi who had worked for Grohs in erecting the two-storied structure.

There is also note of two other dentists. Dr. H.T. Holden opened an office on Front Street in 1900 and in 1902 sold the practice to a Dr. Dye. But a dentist of greater duration in town had at least three office sites. His shingle has appeared in various photographs at various locations.

Dr. H.S. Whitney graduated from the Ohio Dental College at Cincinnati in 1904. Four years later he came to Matamoras in an office on Front Street. He moved in 1911 to the second floor of the First Nationl Bank where the Matamoras Area Historical Society is now located. He was one of several business men who joined in the construction of the “New Block” or the “Brick Block” between Second and Third Streets on Main. He later moved to his new offices on the second floor of that location.

The one name that stands out in the history of Matamoras in connection to dentistry however is that of Gautschi. From 1901 throug the late 1960s a Gautschi dental office could be found in town.

Dr. Edward J. Gautschi graduated from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery in Cincinnati in 1901 and from that time on was located here. He opened his first office in the Gautschi residence on upper Main Street and then moved to a small fram building further down the street. About 1904 he moved to the Gautschi building and stayed. Many old pictures show the Gautschi shingle at this location.

His nephew, Dr. William I. (Brud) Gautschi, followed in his footsteps. He graduated in 1926 from the same dental college as his uncle and also settled in Matamoras. His practice was interrupted during World War II. Prior to America’s entrance in that war he served with the Canadian Armed Forces in Sicily and the United Kingdom. As an American Dental Officer in the U.S. Army he served in field hospitals in Normandy, the Rhineland, Ardennes, and northern France. Returning to Matamoras when the war ended he did not retire until the late 1960s.

John Miller is president of the Matamoras Area Historical Society. Membership dues are $15 per year single/couple. Life membership is $150. Contact the society at P.O. Box 1846, New Matamoras, Ohio 45767. Much of this column is built on the work of Matamoras’ historian, the late Diana McMahan.

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