The History of the Dental Center

In 1908, Doctor Ebersole of Cleveland talked before the Toledo Dental Society on dental dispensary work. About the same time, Doctor L. I. Zarbaugh of Toledo urged the formation of a society or clinic to care for indigents. As a result, at the instance of a small group of dentists who had become interested in the subject, the need for a dental clinic providing service for the poor children of the city was brought to the attention of the Toledo Dental Society in October of 1910, by Dr. D. A. Elwell who read a paper entitled "Philanthropy and Dentistry". The President of the Society, Dr. J. W. Hartshorn, was empowered to appoint a committee to arrange for such a clinic.

For two years, the Toledo Free Dental Clinic functioned more or less satisfactory with purely volunteer service by members of the Dental Society. Then, in 1912, the Board of Education took over the work for the school children and the clinic was moved to the Jefferson School building where the work was carried on by dentists employed by the Board.

In 1920, when the Community Chest was organized, Mr. A. A. Guild of the Social Service Federation and Miss Emma Roberts of the District Nurse Association urged the formation of a dental dispensary to give care to indigent adults.

In 1910 there were a total of 500 patients -More than 25,000 patients were treated in 2015.

The Toledo Dental Dispensary was organized and incorporated under:

Mrs. Zora Bowman, President
Mr. T. A. DeVilbiss, 1st Vice President
L. L. Barber, D. D. S., 2nd Vice President
Rev. Karl Alter, Secretary
Mr. Pratt Tracy, Treasurer
(soon succeeded by Mr. Louis Kern as Treasurer)

The Dispensary has had eleven Executive Secretary-Directors:

1920 - 1923 Ruth Mendenhall
1923 - 1925 Mildred Lesher
1925 - 1928 Mrs. Howard Schafer
1928 - 1943 Mrs. Martha Bayless
1943 - 1946 Dorothy Stout
1946 - 1949 Adelene Haas
1949 - 1982 Marie Fox
1983 - 1984 Alicia G. Kalile
1984 - 1992 Karis Box
1992 - 1999 Leslie Matthews
1999 - Present Melinda Cree


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