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In 1903, a hotel guest had smallpox, and the Hotel Poindexter was quarantined

PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWMAN MUSEUM
 - Perry and Isabella Poindexter opened a restaurant and hotel in Prineville.

Perry B. Poindexter was born in Eugene City on Aug. 26, 1858. His father had come across the Plains in 1852 and became a prominent official in Lane County.

Perry was educated in Eugene and lived there until 1878 when he moved to Portland. He came to Prineville in 1886 and worked at various jobs.

Perry married Isabella Wilson on Nov. 23, 1884, in Prineville. Isabella was born April 9, 1866, in Coburg. She came to Prineville in 1877 with her parents. Perry and Isabella had five children.

They had limited capital but opened a restaurant in Prineville and managed to make a success of the enterprise. They operated the restaurant until 1901. At that time, he built the Hotel Poindexter, which was located on South Main Street between the present Bowman Museum and the Pine Theater. The hotel was a two story structure and became one of the best hotels at that time in Central Oregon. The family lived in the hotel until they later built a home in the community.

In 1903, it was determined that a guest at their hotel had smallpox, resulting in a city-wide panic since the disease was usually fatal. The hotel was quarantined, and a "Pest House" nearby was designated as a site for housing and treating infected patients. Isabella became involved in treating the patients and developed an interest in nursing.

The Poindexters continued to operate the hotel until they sold it in 1910, and the hotel then became known as the Hotel Oregon. The hotel burned in a fire in 1917.

After selling the hotel, Isabella convinced Perry to convert their home on West Second Street into the Home Hospital. It was not an official hospital but mainly a first care center. Isabella managed the facility, and Perry provided support.

Both Perry and Isabella became widely known in Central Oregon and were active in local civic affairs and organizations.

Perry became ill and passed away on May 13, 1927. Isabella lived on for several years and continued operating the Home Hospital until she died on Oct. 31, 1943. Both Perry and Isabella are buried in Juniper Haven Cemetery in Prineville.

Steve Lent is a local historian and assistant director of the Bowman Museum. He can be reached at: 541-447-3715.

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