Old News – Dental Dispensary

The Rochester Dental Dispensary opened 100 years ago. Besides repairing teeth, the dispensary also was a leader in dental hygiene and educating dentists. It is said that it was the first place in the US licensed to train dental hygienists.

The name was changed to Eastman Dental Center in 1965. It remained at 800 East Main Street until 1978 when it moved next to Strong Memorial Hospital. The old building was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. That building opened last year as senior residences.

The two articles are only partially reproduced. They are much longer, even giving parts of the speeches giving at the dedication. To see the whole articles, this link will take you to page 6 of the newspaper on Google. Both stories continue on page 9.


Wednesday, May 9, 1917

Million-dollar Gift Becomes Permanent City Institution

The new Rochester Dental Dispensary, the million-dollar gift of George Eastman to the children of his native city no longer is a dream of the men who for years have labored in the interests of the coming generation. This afternoon in the presence of dentists from all parts of the country, city and county officials and others who have been active in the work of public benefactions, & became one of the permanent institutions of the community and stands as a lasting monument to its builder. Mr. Eastman because of his reticence about appearing in public, was not present at the dedication.

In prominence of this new institution in the dental and public health world was signified today through the character of the great representative body of men who were present at 2 o’clock, when Bishop Thomas Hickey opened the dedication ceremonies with prayer. Not a dental society in the country was unrepresented in the vast vast throng that gathered in and about the building and wards of praise for the magnificence and the scope of work that is to be carried on through this institution were heard on every side.

Immediately after the opening prayer, Dr. Harvey J. Burkhart, who is to direct the activities of the new institution, paid a glowing tribute to its founder, in which he acknowledge the many donations made toward the equipment of parts of the building, to the fourteen members of board of directors who announced contributions of $1,000 yearly for six years toward the operating expenses of the institution and to the late Rudolph H. Hofheinz, whose activities in the work before his untimely death are not to be forgotten.

Prominent men who are taking part in the dispensary dedication exercises today, and George Eastman, the founder. Mr. Eastman is in the middle. Others are, top, let to right: Dr. Lafayette Barber, Toledo, O.; Dr Robert Murray, Buffalo; Mayor Hiram H. Edgerton; Dr Harvey J. Burkhart; Dr. T. W. Brophy, Chicago; Dr. Augustus S. Downing, Albany. Bottom, left to right: Dr. William W. Smith; Dr. Rush Rhees; Bishop Thomas P. Hickey; Dr. William R. Taylor and Harper F. Sibley.


The Rochester Dental Dispensary of which Dr. Harvey J. Burkhart is director is the second of its kind to be established in the United Sates, the other being in Boston, Mass. Other dental dispensaries are connected with colleges or hospitals. While the building is opened here, the scope of the work will be almost limitless and will undoubtedly attract the attention of odontologists throughout the country.

The dispensary is composed of a main building and two wings and has a frontage of 153 feet and a depth of 95 feet and is set well back on a slight elevation on the north side of Main street east. The exterior of the building is in the Italian Renaissance style of architecture, all carving being the handwork on white marble.

The carved panels on the front of the building and the lunettes in the arches which mark the entrance to the portico are said to be exceptionally attractive. The portico is ninety feet long and ten feet wide and from this entrances to the building are effected.

At this entrance is found the general information bureau. so arranged that the clerk in charge can also watch over the children’s room at the left of the entrance. The wing at the right of the portico houses the research laboratory, museum, study and directors’ room and large library. The west wing contains a lecture room arranged to seat 250 persons, in which has been installed motion picture and stereeopticon apparatus. Both wings have been so arranged that either can be shut off and used exclusively by itself.