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    Chapter 6—The Story of Hinsdale

    When I returned from Europe it became more and more apparent to us that the heart of a great city is not a very favorable place for a sanitarium effort, so we looked up various openings in the vicinity of the City where we might establish headquarters for a sanitarium work. One or two seemed quite favorable but they ultimately passed beyond our reach.FF 65.1

    I made it a special matter of prayer and kept looking for a favorable location. One day Mr. C. B. Kimbell, a wealthy man who lived in Hinsdale and who had been helped wonderfully healthwise in our Chicago sanitarium, came to me and said, “Doctor, you ought to start a sanitarium in Hinsdale. That is a beautiful town; I would like to see a sanitarium out there. There is a piece of property out there that is just the thing for a sanitarium.” So he brought Mrs. Paulson and me out one day and drove around here with us. He pointed out a magnificent piece of property, just on the edge of the village, comprising ten acres, having a brook running through it, entirely wooded with fruit trees, berry bushes, shrubbery, etc., with two houses, independent water plant, sewerage, etc., and said: “This is just what you ought to have for a sanitarium.” I had no idea at the time that that was a prophetic wish. Weeds covered everything on these grounds, but in spite of the neglected condition I could see this was an excellent location.FF 65.2

    Later on, the Lord moved on the heart of Mr. Kimbell to buy this property, and he came to me and said, “Dr. Paulson, I tell you what I will do: I will buy this ground and deed it to you people and you can pay for it in twenty yearly installments without any interest.” I saw the hand of Providence in that thing, so I said, “That is a go.”FF 66.1

    I knew it just as well as I knew, after attending a convention in Des Moines some years ago, that the Life Boat magazine was going to be a “go.” I went home and ordered 25,000 copies printed, and they thought me crazy. A few weeks later, I ordered them to print 50,000 copies and had to agree to pay for them myself before it could be done. We had to print a second edition. A few months later, we printed an edition of 155,000. I had the same feeling in my bones about this Hinsdale business.FF 66.2

    I know it is worth while to put the best you have into the dough. If you have a little piece of yeast it does no good while up on the shelf, but if you put it in the bread it grows and pretty soon the whole thing is leavened. I don't know how many of you understand about bread making, but I do. I used to have to make it for my mother. I have friends who have five times the talent I have, but they never get it into the dough. They are too busy, and say, “Oh yes, Paulson, you have the gift for such things, I don't want to do it.” Their leaven is on the shelf and never gets into the dough. Put some in and in a little while you have ten times more than you had. It doesn't grow on the shelf. That is a secret I want to impress upon you, that what you give away is what you keep. Don't set a price of so much per square yard. Give it away and it will come back one hundred fold. Don't forget that.FF 67.1

    I then began to look for someone to come out here to establish a sanitarium work. Mrs. Paulson and I wanted to stay by the work in Chicago. But it came to be spring and Mrs. Paulson said to me, “We will have to go out ourselves.” You remember there was a man in the Bible—Elisha—who sent his staff by his servant to place on the sick child’s face, but Elisha had to go himself before the child was restored. There are some things you have to do yourself. You can not delegate them to anyone else. So Mrs. Paulson and I came out here.FF 68.1

    You may imagine, with no financial help coming from the Battle Creek sanitarium after the fire and with our little medical work we were carrying on in Chicago, and our small means being used up in rescue work we were doing, etc., that we did not have any money; and we knew no one to whom we could look for any. But we felt impressed it was the thing to do so we moved out here March 4, 1904, without any money in sight to ship our few household goods.FF 68.2

    We did not move out here for our health. I had to borrow money to ship our goods out, but I had the sweet conviction in my soul that I was launching out in obedience to a divine providence and I have not any doubt that I will live to see it done.FF 69.1

    We moved into a little house on the grounds—the tramps had carried away the doors—and came out here to start a sanitarium. It was a great joke to my friends; they thought I was a lunatic. They said, “There is Dr. Paulson moving out to a rich residence town to start a sanitarium without money enough to take his bed along.” They had infallible proof that I was a lunatic; but, by the way, several of those same friends have been around here since and wanted jobs. The institution is here. Why? I knew God wanted this sort of thing near Chicago, and I had the willing heart and God helped us to do it. Much has been accomplished; not what might have been accomplished if we had been closer to the Lord, but it has not been an absolute failure all these years. Something told me it was the thing to do.FF 69.2

    No one had lived on these grounds for seven years so the weeds and underbrush had grown up to the lower branches of the trees. Parts of the grounds were a perfect jungle. Mrs. Paulson and I knelt down on that hillside and asked the Lord to send us a hundred dollars to help clear up the grounds. Two days later a business man whom I had seen but twice and whose name I did not know, walked into my brother’s office in Chicago and said, “Doesn't the Doctor need some money out in Hinsdale?” He said, “Yes, he does need money, he always needs money.” The man pulled out a hundred dollars, handed them to my brother, and walked away. My brother brought this money out to me. I said, “That is quick returns; I rang up ‘Central’ for that day before yesterday,” and I took that as a sort of omen that there was going to be something happening out in Hinsdale. It was to me an indication, an earmark, that I was on the right track.FF 70.1

    Shortly afterward an old lady I knew in a general way, who belonged to our church in Chicago, sent for me. She said, “I have just got $2,500 in on a loan and can just as well let you have that for a while, and will lend it to you.” I gave her my note for that. My stock was beginning to go up in the market, but I had a good many other difficulties in the way.FF 70.2

    I ran up against one particular obstacle I could not surmount. Then it came to me that on these premises we ought to do something especially for the sick poor if this sanitarium work got under way. So I told the Lord that if He would help me to surmount that special obstacle I would see to it that the poor of the earth were blessed here; and that very day that obstacle gave way and I was able to go on. When our Board was finally organized I told them, “Unless you are going to help me do something for the poor here there is no use to go on, for I am going to do something for them. Let my right hand forget its cunning, and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth when I cease to be a missionary to earth’s sorrowing and distressed multitudes. We are going to act in Hinsdale what we preached in Chicago. Those who sit in darkness will see a great light and the poor shall have the gospel acted to them as well as preached to them. There shall be one spot left on this selfish earth where a man cannot be so poor but what there is a helping hand extended to him. We shall herald it far and wide and shall fill this whole ten-acre lot with the sick of earth and minister to them the healing forces of nature.”FF 71.1

    On my bended knees I promised God that if he would help me to build this sanitarium, I would make it a blessing to the sick poor and I shall do so, as surely as there is a God in heaven.FF 72.1

    Mr. Kimbell was the first president of our Organization. He said, “I am interested in the poor, I also am interested in the rich. Why not let us start to do something for the people first of all who can afford to pay, and then when we get under way we can establish a work for the sick poor.” I agreed to that. The establishment of the Good Samaritan Inn, to which I shall allude later, is the fulfillment of my vow.FF 72.2

    We issued bonds on the grounds here, but the problem was to sell the bonds. Some of you know what kind of a proposition I had in selling bonds in a work that was not started at all except in anticipation.FF 72.3

    I knew a gentleman nurse who was traveling with a wealthy old gentleman who had been up at Battle Creek, and he gave me a tip that the old gentleman might buy some of our bonds if he was approached right. So I went in to Chicago, took dinner with him, and told him what we were going to do here and that I wanted him to buy $5,000 of my bonds. He listened to me patiently, and then said, “Oh, you folks are really a pack of grafters. I have been in Battle Creek and they charged me seventy-five dollars a week and I didn't get much benefit either. I don't want any of my money in your work.” He said it good-naturedly enough, but you know even if you apply a mustard plaster good-naturedly it will still raise blisters, and his remarks were beginning to have the same effect on me. I felt impressed to say to him, “When you get over on the other shore you will wish you had some of your money in my kind of business, for I am going to do some work for God out in Hinsdale.” He got up from the table and when he got off five or six steps he turned and said to me, “Say, I rather like the looks of your face, and when you have to have five thousand dollars, let me know.” I did and I got five thousand dollars all right enough. Then we were ready to begin business so we began to break ground for a small building.FF 73.1

    Mr. Kimbell said, “Now you folks start the sanitarium work in a small way, and when you get that under way I will help you to build a hundred-thousand-dollar building higher up on the hill. I think there is a good deal more sense in spending my money in building a sanitarium than investing it as Carnegie does in building libraries.”FF 74.1

    We organized the Hinsdale Sanitarium and Benevolent Association on a charitable, nondividend, non-profit-sharing basis, in such a way that no one could ever get anything out of it except his mere salary; the constituency or membership being made up of those who come here and have been connected with the work for a year, provided they are over twenty-one years old. They lose their membership when they disconnect permanently. These members elect the Board, so all who are connected with the work really have a voice in its management and a personal responsibility for its welfare. So we started in with a good deal of enthusiasm in the fall of 1904. We broke ground and built during the winter.FF 74.2

    Mr. Kimbell went out to Glendale, Cal., to spend the winter, and while there was suddenly stricken down and died after a few days’ illness. His plans about our grounds of course remained but that was all the help we received from him. I felt as though my last friend on earth, financially speaking, was dead. There was no one else I could look to, to take hold and help us. I naturally could not look to the Battle Creek sanitarium people, and my church people had a sanitarium in Moline which they were struggling to pay the debt on.FF 75.1

    We thought we had money enough to build what is now the first wing containing seventeen bedrooms, but as usual the expenses exceeded our calculations and when we reached the roof, our money gave out. The workmen were clamoring for pay and I knew no one to whom I could appeal for the necessary thousand dollars to finish the roof.FF 75.2

    So I gathered together our few workers and we prayed for a thousand dollars. The last one to take part was my nephew Carl Clough, who was at that time about nine or ten years old. I will never forget how he prayed, “Lord, send some money to the sanitarium.” As I walked up over the hill following that season of prayer, the conviction came to me that if I had drifted so far away that the Lord couldn't hear my prayer, He would hear the boy’s prayer and answer. A few days later I received a letter from a young man out in Kansas who said, “I hear you are trying to start a sanitarium at Hinsdale. I have just sold my farm and I have $1,150 that I can just as well let you have for a time as not.” That money put the roof on the building.FF 76.1

    A little later we needed more money before we were actually ready to take in patients, but just then a good woman up in Stevens Point, Wis., loaned us a few hundred dollars which helped to tide us over.FF 76.2

    Our first patient came before the front steps were built. She had to be carried up from the depot on a stretcher, but she was gloriously restored; went home to be a gymnasium teacher in her home town. Somehow, like the first hundred dollars that we received in answer to prayer, I took her restoration as an omen for good—as a sort of first-fruits of a great army of invalids that was to follow, and so it has proven to be.FF 76.3

    The Hinsdale sanitarium building was dedicated on September 20, 1905. Judge Orrin N. Carter, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois, gave the principal dedicatory address. The best people of the town came to bid us Godspeed. Within three weeks every room was filled.FF 77.1

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