Pioneering physicians Owen Taylor and Martin Lacey laid the foundations for quality health care to serve residents in Auburn and surrounding communities in South King County. Who were these gentlemen?
Owen Taylor was born in 1866 in Sand Point, Iowa. The son of John and Nancy Squires Tayler, Owen attended the Territorial University in Seattle and graduated from the Bellevue Hospital in New York City. Records show Dr. Taylor opened his first practice in Kent in 1895, after coming to the area from New York.
His first major office was in his home in 1900. Two years later, he expanded the ground floor and added a second story to accommodate 20 patients.
At around 1910, he studied for a time in Europe. While there, he met and wed Anna Marion Ham in Wells, England. They had three sons, Edward and John Owen; son James Pershing died in 1933, shortly before his father.
The Taylor mansion, built on Kent’s Scenic Hill, was a showplace for many years. The couple was active in the social scene, noted often in newspapers at the time for various soirees and interesting travels. Dr. Taylor also was a sports buff and offered many trophies to schools in Auburn and Kent to encourage athletics.
As a young physician in Kent, Dr. Taylor made his first house calls via bicycle. He later purchased a pony and finally a horse and buggy.
He soon realized a growing need for quality healthcare in the Auburn area. From about 1915 to 1918, Taylor and Dr. Martin Lacey of Auburn partnered to open the first Taylor-Lacey Hospital in what is known as the Oscar Blomeen House.
In 1921, he and Lacey constructed the Taylor-Lacey Hospital in Auburn. Dr. Taylor also served as the hospital surgeon and, occasionally, as the hospital custodian.
Owen Taylor died October 3, 1938, at his home in Kent after a long illness. He was 72 years old. He is buried in Hillcrest Burial Park in Kent.
His son, Dr. John Owen Taylor, had worked at the hospital before serving in World War II and then opened his own practice in Kent.
The Seattle Daily Times reported that Taylor’s estate was valued at $15,000, all of which was left to his wife, Anna.
Martin J. Lacey moved to Slaughter (later renamed Auburn) with his family in 1887. He was the son of Charles P. and Adelaide J. Lacey of the Seattle area. The Laceys were pioneer residents of the area; newspaper reports say they were the seventh family to arrive in the town.
Charles P. Lacey, was known leader in the community. He ran a livery stable and blacksmith shop, and for a while, served on the school board. He became part of the stock company that built the Green River Hotel, Auburn’s first elite hostelry. This later passed solely to the Lacey family.
Martin attended local schools. He completed pharmacy school at the University of Washington, and after practicing for a time in Seattle, attended Northwestern University (Illinois), where he received a medical degree. He first practiced medicine in Auburn.
In the fall of 1914, he married Helen Knickerbocker, the daughter of Irving B. Knickerbocker, Slaughter’s first town attorney and a former state senator. Immediately following the wedding supper at the bride’s home, the new couple traveled to Chicago, where Dr. Lacey attended a six-week post-graduate course at Chicago University.
From about 1915 to 1918, Lacey and Kent Physician Owen Taylor partnered to open the first Taylor-Lacey Hospital in what is known as the Oscar Blomeen House in Auburn. Meanwhile, Lacey served two terms as on the Auburn City Council, and beginning in 1916, served as mayor for one term. In June 1918, Lacey was assigned to active duty in the Medical Reserve Corps in the U.S. Army during World War I.
In 1921, he partnered with Dr. Owen Taylor to open the Taylor-Lacey Hospital in Auburn. In January 1927, Lacey sold his interest in the hospital to Dr. Taylor. News reports at the time indicated that Lacey was unsure of his future plans.
Some accounts say he and his wife moved to Berkeley, California, sometime in 1928, where he practiced medicine until he retired. He died in July 1959. He is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Auburn. His stone notes that Martin served as a Lieutenant in the 48th Coast Artillery in France during World War I.