Dr. John B. Turner - Company Physician
Dr. John B. Turner
Dr. John B. Turner was a graduate of Vanderbilt University and opened his practice in Bagdad in 1910 as physician for the Bagdad Land & Lumber Company and the L & N Railroad Company. Bagdad's lumber mill was the first to provide a health plan of sorts for the mill workers. Employees each paid a dime per month to Dr. Turner for his services.
Dr. Turner's office was located within the Mill Commissary on Thompson Street. Like most mill towns, the Mill Commissary was the primary store for all residents. In 1924, the Commissary was moved from Thompson Street to Forsyth Street. Dr. Turner's new office was placed on the south end of this building which was next to his personal residence. When the Commissary building was demolished, he moved his office to a room in his home.
(Above) Dr. John B. Turner standing in front of his home on Forsyth Street. His office was in the Commissary building pictured here next to his residence.
For many years, Dr. Turner had an extensive private practice. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Milton and served his community in many ways.
Dr. Turner was a member of the Santa Rosa County School Board for many years, and had served as its chairman. He was master of ceremonies at the opening of Santa Rosa Hospital in 1952. In 1966, he was honored by the Milton Kiwanis Club for outstanding leadership in the community.
Residents of Bagdad often shared their memories of Dr. Turner and the visits to his office. He notably impacted the life of Jennie Lucille Johnson, born in 1912 in Milton, Florida. Recognizing her nursing skills, he helped her develop her talents. Mrs. Johnson went on to own and operate the first Home Day Care Program for African-American students in Santa Rosa County. She was also president of the Santa Rosa Association for Retarded Children, and initiated the Special Olympics and a summer program for children.
(Above) Dr. J. B. Turner's medical instruments and bag are on display at the Historic Bagdad Village Museum located on Church Street.
Dr. Turner passed away at the age of 87. His home, known as the Dr. John B. Turner House, is located at 4625 Forsyth Street in the Historic District of the Village of Bagdad. After laying vacant for many years, the home was purchased in 2019 and is now being restored.