Read Our History at Rutherford Veterinary Hospital
Rutherford Veterinary Hospital has an incredibly long history serving Dallas communities. We have been providing animal medical care for many generations, since opening our hospital doors in 1924. We invite you to read more about our vivid history and discover the legacy of our East Dallas veterinary hospital.
The Story of How Rutherford Veterinary Hospital Started
Dr. Frank E. Rutherford Veterinary Hospital is one of Texas’s oldest continuously operating veterinary practices. Dr. 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 telephone directories of the early 1900s, 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, which was 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).
Rutherford Veterinary Hospital Passed Down Through the Years
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 had been working as a technician, attended 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 1950s when Dr. James Earl Nash, who had been hired in 1945, became a partner. When Nell Rutherford passed away in 1975, Dr. Steeger became full owner of the building and land while still maintaining partnership over the practice with Dr. Nash. 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 two years in the Army before joining Rutherford Veterinary Hospital. In 1979, shortly after Nash’s death, Dr. Vaughn became a partner, and on May 22, 1985, he purchased the building, land and practice from Dr. Steeger when he retired.
Dr. Vaughn continued to own the well-known veterinary practice until August 1, 2013, when Dr. Teri Rowan purchased the veterinary practice. Dr. Rowan had joined the practice originally in 2008, a year after graduating from Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Having fallen in love with the history and rich traditions of the hospital, Dr. Rowan is committed to carrying on Dr. Frank E. Rutherford’s legacy for future generations.
About the Facility
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 photograph of the space for reference, a replica ceiling was purchased and installed to complement matching furniture as well as matching fabric pattern. While other areas of the hospital have been modernized and changed over the years, all changes have been photographically documented and recorded.
In August of 1999, Rutherford Veterinary Hospital was recognized and registered as both a county and state historical landmark.