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| Dr. Frank E. Rutherford Veterinary Hospital is Texas's oldest continuously operating veterinary practice. Doctor Frank E. Rutherford began practicing Veterinary Medicine as an unlicensed doctor in 1906 under the practice name of Dr. Frank E. Rutherford Veterinary Hospital. In 1920, Dr. Rutherford received a Non-graduate Veterinary License (#NG135) from the state of Texas.
According to the early 1900's telephone directories, between 1906 and 1924 Dr. Rutherford spent the majority of his years as a solo practitioner working out of a variety of locations, primarily making house calls. In addition, it appears he worked primarily on livestock.
Shortly following Dr. Rutherford's licensing, he began practicing out of the new Dr. Frank E. Rutherford Veterinary Hospital designed and built in 1924 for the sole purpose of being a veterinary hospital. This building is still located at 924 S. Haskell Avenue (Previously Forney Avenue).
On July 1, 1932, Dr. Frank E. Rutherford died leaving his widow Nell Rutherford to manage the hospital. Shortly after Rutherford's death, Charles Steeger (Dr. Rutherford's son-in-law), who was working as a technician, attended the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Steeger graduated from veterinary school in 1936 and assumed ownership of the practice. However, Nell Rutherford retained ownership of the building and land.
Dr. Steeger had a number of associates over the years, but remained the sole owner of the practice until the mid 1950's when Dr. James Earl Nash, who was originally hired in 1945, became a partner in the ownership of the practice with Nell continuing to posses sole ownership of the land and building. This arrangement continued until 1975 when Nell Rutherford passed away. At that time, Dr. Steeger received ownership of the land and the building. Dr. Nash remained a partner in the practice, with no ownership of the land or the building. Shortly after Nell's death, Dr. Nash passed away, once again leaving Dr. Steeger the sole owner of the practice and the facility.
In 1969, the practice was joined by a young new graduate named Ronald E. Vaughn. Dr. Vaughn graduated from Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1967 and served 2 years in the Army before joining Rutherford Veterinary Hospital in 1969. This young dedicated veterinarian was truly an asset to the profession who became a permanent fixture in the practice. In 1979, shortly after Nash's death, Dr. Vaughn became a partner and on May 22, 1985, purchased the building, land, and practice from Dr. Steeger as he retired.
Over the years, a great deal of effort has been exhausted to preserve the original face of the building. Much of the expense involved could have been avoided by simply destroying the old building and building a new one. However, because of its historic significance to Dallas, the State, and the veterinary community, we have done all that we could to preserve it for generations to come.
In the fall of 1999 the lobby was restored back to its original décor. Using a 1930's picture, a replica ceiling was located and installed to complement matching furniture as well as matching fabric pattern.
In August of 1999, Rutherford Veterinary Hospital was recognized and registered as both a county and state Historical Landmark