Hespeler Brothers Operated World Famous Resort
The couple had two sons. The children, Gordon and Edwin, attended Hespeler Public School and graduated Galt Collegiate Institute before attending the University of Toronto Medical College.
In 1911, both graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Medicine and pursued post-graduate work at New York’s Bellevue Hospital. In 1913, Edwin returned to Canada. A year later he opened an office in Belin (now Kitchener) and began his practice specializing in gynecology. He married Beata Moyer of Petrolia the same year. Gordon returned one year later as a surgeon in obstetrics and married Beata’s sister Elva, and joined Edwin in a medical partnership.
In 1921, the successful brothers purchased the Preston Springs Hotel. They opened as the Preston Springs Sanitarium on March 7, 1924 following extensive renovations to the decades old building. Early backers and investors in their clinic were wealthy Kaufman family members of Kitchener. Their business was successful from the start and as it grew in popularity it attracted wealthy clientele; business leaders, lawyers, entertainers, etc.
In 1935, the brothers added a fifth floor to the building, giving it an additional twenty-four rooms for prominent and wealthy guests. The clinic had seven doctors on staff, including a Hagmeier cousin, Dr. Carter Howek. Its facilities included an x-ray room, dental office, surgery, sulphur springs bath department, physiotherapy rooms providing electrotherapy, diathermy, and hydrotherapy. Doctors monitored all bodily functions; circulatory, gastrointestinal, respiratory, genital, urinary and nervous systems. While surgery could be performed, the clinic focused “on removing the cause of the disease rather than relieving the symptoms”.
With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the clinic’s clientele severely declined and by 1943 the Preston Springs Sanitorium defaulted on its mortgage and the clinic closed. The building was acquired by A. R. Kaufman and used to house “WRENS” from the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service. Following the war, the Hagmeier brothers attempted to reopen the clinic and restore their business. They were unsuccessful in reattracting the wealthy clientele and were forced to liquidate their investment. Edwin opened an office and practiced medicine in Kitchener while Gordon took up farming in the Grand Bend area.