As Glen Rose mineral waters became famous for their restorative powers, Dr. George R. Milling started a magnetic healing hospital on the corner of Barnard and Cottonwood in 1911. He learned his trade at Putnam, Texas under his brother Roscoe G. Milling Sr., who used the Weltmer method of healing. Roscoe accented their Cherokee heritage by calling himself “The Indian Adept” and by wearing his hair long. George also wore long hair.
Roscoe, George and other healers gained their knowledge from Sidney Weltmer’s magnetic institution in Missouri, although these same doctors gained inspiration from Franz Mesmer, the father of magnetic healing. Mesmer believed that each person has an invisible magnetic fluid called animal magnetism that if blocked, then sickness would come upon the person. Mesmer used magnets at first to stimulate the magnetic fluid, and later he learned that he himself had the ability to produce the same powers the magnets had. From then on, he mostly used his hands to pass over a body or to use massage. Mesmer went on to practice hypnotism, hence the name “mesmerism.” The precise formula for magnetic healing in Glen Rose was open to interpretation, combining element of psychology, hypnotism, mineral water therapy, or faith healing to suit the practitioner.
Having charm and charisma helped, too, as G. R.’s patients found him to be of heroic proportions. Dr. Milling drew scores of people to Glen Rose for relief of suffering of all kinds.
Besides being a charmer, his impulsiveness brought several charges against him for breaking the law. The sheriff once charged him with breaking the speed limit when he drove his Hupmobile down Barnard St. at 18 mph. Several times the sheriff charged him on complaint of practicing medicine without a license. Since he wasn’t a licensed physician who could charge for medical help, he could charge room and board which adequately paid him for his services.
The next year he built a sanitarium on the corner of Barnard and Mustang. The name “sanitarium” in those days did not necessarily mean a place for mental problems, even though people today may think so. Places to be treated for tuberculosis were sanitariums in those days.
If the magnetic healers were to call their places of business “hospitals,” then they may have been subject to penalty for practicing medicine without a license.
Two years later, Dr. Milling passed away, reportedly at the hands of a jealous husband. Although this magnetic healer was gone, others quickly took his place.
Lee Lane, owner of the Ford agency in Glen Rose, bought the sanitarium plot from the Milling heirs—Mrs. Milling, White Fox and George R., Jr. Mr. Lane turned the sanitarium building into the Hotel Carlsbad, named after the Carlsbad, Austria waters and spas. During the time it became a fad to use petrified wood for building material, the sanitarium building received a veneer of brick and petrified wood with a porch made of the same material.
In the 1930s, Linnie Lane bought the hotel from his father’s heirs and called it the Lane Hotel. When Roland T. Bird from the New York Museum of Natural History came to Glen Rose to dig up a dinosaur track trail from the Paluxy River, he lived at this hotel.
Dr. J. J. Hanna, M.D. set up practice in this building in 1941 when he moved here from Quanah, Texas, leasing the property for a hospital. The operating room and patient rooms were in the main building, while x-ray and lab were in a separate building. Later Dr. Hanna moved his hospital to his new one-story building at Barnard’s Mill which included mineral baths. This hospital became the precursor of our present Glen Rose Medical Center and is now Barnard’s Mill Art Museum.
Then in 1945, Dr. Roscoe G. Milling, Jr. purchased the sanitarium property and re-established magnetic healing there. Some time during his ownership, he renovated the existing buildings and built two small cottages and a wishing well. He matched the petrified wood architecture on these new buildings. His brother-in-law Dr. Jim Lett shared the patient load with him and continued to practice after Dr. Milling’s death in 1962.
Not long after Dr. Lett moved to Cleburne, Sy and Bonnie Mann opened a rooming house at the sanitarium building. Tom Mann worked there as a magnetic masseur, plus giving whirlpool therapy. Tom renamed the complex Shady Inn, which was appropriate with several pecan trees in the yard. .
In 1971, present owners Johnny and Marvilene Martin purchased the property keeping it a rooming house at first, then operated an antique mall a while. They refurbished the two small houses and called them Barnard St. Cottages, bed-and-breakfast style.