Copyright 2009 Glenwood Animal Hospital
221 N. Glenwood Blvd Tyler, TX 75702
The year was 1940 and the U.S. was walking away from the
depression and into a world war.
Ninety miles east of Dallas, Tyler was in the infancy of its
own change from an agricultural economy to what today is a
vibrant regional urban center built around retail and medical
facilities, three colleges and universities and a
The area was somewhat insulated from the Depression by discovery of the East Texas Oil
Field, the largest in size ever found in the lower 48, a decade earlier. That brought oil
companies, wildcatters and their money to town.
Still, Tyler and Smith County was a hub for commercial and family farming. At one point
there was more than 8,000 acres of commercially harvested blackberry bushes in the
county, tens-of-thousands of peach trees, a canning industry, forestry and, of course,
There was also a thriving cattle industry coming in where trees had been cleared or taking
the place of the family truck farm.
In 1940 Dr. Paul Turman built a veterinarian clinic on Fenton Street (now 221 N.
Glenwood) in Tyler, a clinic he stayed at for the remainder of his almost 50-year career
and one that is still in operation today.
Turman first hung his shingle in Tyler in 1938 in a rented building, before constructing his
own clinic two years later. It was a two-story structure that housed a clinic down stairs and
living quarters upstairs. At the time the building set on the edge of northern Tyler. By
today's standards, it wasn't a modern facility, but it updated compared to the original site
where water was drawn from a well in the morning and allowed to sit in the sun during the
day so dogs could be bathed in the afternoon.
The new clinic was built just down the road from a dairy owned by Turman's half-brother,
Bill. It was an area he knew well because it was where he lived and worked as a teenager
after the death of his father. It was also where
Turman developed his interest in veterinary medicine.
Described as not a particular great student in his high school years, Turman reportedly
found his life's calling one night when one of the dairy’s cows had become sick and the
local veterinarian came out to tend it. Turman
spent the night helping the doctor and soon realized this was what he wanted to do.
Turman's mother still maintained the family's farm and didn't have enough money to send
her son to school. However, with the help of his mother and half-brother, a plan was
made. Turman would go to Texas A&M, and with him would go two milk cows. He would
milk them daily and sell the milk to the Corps of Cadets mess hall. The money he earned
would pay for his books and tuition.
At A&M he excelled in the classroom, but after a year or so got tired of the milking chores.
Turman sold his cows and got a job as a waiter to pay his way through school.
After graduation Turman became one of the few veterinarians in East Texas. His large
animal practice extended well beyond Tyler and Smith County. Turman, known by most as
just "Doc", also made runs into Cherokee, Gregg,
Henderson, Rusk and Van Zandt counties.
In 1942 Turman wanted to enlist in the U.S. Army, but was talked out of it by local
businessmen and agricultural leaders who felt his role as the local veterinarian would be
equally important. Instead of going to the front lines, he helped send food to the soldiers,
working as a federal meat inspector along with his regular practice work.
Despite the oil riches nearby and the soon-to-be construction of an army base between
Tyler and Longview that would house tens of thousands of enlisted men during the war,
life on the farm wasn't always easy in East Texas. The national minimum wage at the time
was 25 cents. Turman often worked for a lot less accepting barter in produce or whatever
a family could afford to pay him for treating a sick cow or horse.
The practice of monthly billing or cash payment has only recently been replaced by credit
In the 1940s the clinic was open seven days a week, with Sunday morning and afternoon
hours. In the 1950s the Sunday afternoon hours were dropped. It wasn't until the 1970s
that the clinic also closed on Sunday mornings, but the doctors remained on call. It has
only been in the last few years that the clinic began closing on Saturday, but an
emergency clinic is available in Tyler.
Because of Turman the clinic became involved in efforts to advocate statewide rabies
vaccinations, and was helped form an annual outreach rabies vaccination clinic in
communities around Smith County that continues today.
It also played a key role in East Texas in the Brucella Eradication Program.
Through the years the clinic has had three names – Small Animal Clinic, Turman and Hull
beginning in 1960 after Dr. Dick Hull, a 1954 graduate of the Texas A&M veterinary
school, became a partner, and Glenwood Animal Hospital.
During Hull’s time with the clinic, an indoor kennel, cow parlor and horse barn were
constructed at the clinic. Unfortunately Hull died shortly after. Services also started to
move from one that mostly made farm calls to a haul-in practice where farmers would bring
their cows and horses to the clinic for treatment, although some out calls are still made
Dr. Steve Wilson, joined the clinic in 1971 and would later buy out Turman in 1974. Wilson
and Hull were partners until Hull died in 1976.
Turman continued to practice until 1985. That spring he was attacked by a bull he was
treating. He died later that summer.
On the outside, the clinic still looks much the same as it ever did. Inside the hospital has
changed almost as much as the city around. When Wilson arrived in 1971 the clinic didn't
have a receptionist or veterinary
technician. The doctors answered the phones and wrote their own records. Long-time
customers were just as likely to enter through the backdoor doctor's entrance and
bookkeeping was the chore of the three veterinarian’s wives.
Along with three veterinarians, the clinic staff today also includes one veterinarian tech
and five animal techs.
Today’s Glenwood Animal Clinic is a mixed practice clinic with a greater emphasis on
small animals, but treating everything up to and including elephants. Among the clinics
varied client list is the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler. Turman did voluntary work for the zoo in its
early years. The clinic renewed its association in 2002 as the zoo veterinarian.
The clinic has gone from an era when Turman basically worked out of his car to where
some large animal treatment was done in a grass lot behind the building to a fully stocked
facility with x-ray and dental x-ray equipments, blood chemistry machines, ultrasound, gas
anesthesia and surgical monitoring equipment.
Of course communications has also approved. Initially the clinic was a "call practice" which
took the vets out into the field. Modern communications started with a two-way radio tower
to communicate with trucks, followed by an
answering service with pagers. Today, of course, it is cell phones.
During Wilson’s tenure clinic veterinarians worked two weekly cattle barns in the area,
worked through the early stages of Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis vaccinations and
threat of epidemic and the parvo epidemic.
Another important change under Wilson was adding Dr. Ann Buchanan as a partner.
Buchanan, who joined the clinic and became a partner in 1997, is the first female owner of
a mixed practice in Tyler.
Buchanan wasn’t the first trendsetting female veterinarian at the clinic. In the 1980s
Wilson hired Dr. Louisa Schmidt as the first woman in a mixed practice in Tyler. Dr.
Sharon Waters has been on staff since 2003.
Alumni veterinarians from Turman-Hull or Glenwood Animal Clinic over the years have
included: Don Wheeler, Bruce Cox, Mike Houser, Ken Housel, Jim Carson, Dave Sheen,
Doug Ashburn, Mandy Rauls, Mike Williams, Kathy Carter, Mel Richardson and Maryla
Following Turman's example, the clinic remains actively involved in its neighborhood. It
has been the East Texas State Fair veterinarian since the clinic opened. The practice also
treats tracking dogs and horses for the Smith County Sheriff's office and has worked with
state and federal game wardens in treated injured and ill wild bald eagles.
Almost 70 years after it opened its door, Glenwood Animal Clinic is still a vibrant practice
with veterinarians treating the pets and livestock of third generation clients, newcomers
and an occasional elephant and giraffe.