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Route 66 News

Saying goodbye to a vet clinic

Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader columnist Sarah Overstreet tells the sad tale of Dr. C.C. Moore’s Veterinary Clinic in downtown Springfield, which occupied a corner of Route 66 since 1929 and is about to close.

Dr. Tedd Hamaker is moving from his current location, which has only a few parking spaces and little room for boarding animals.

Hamaker will pack the Route 66 souvenirs he’s bought, some people brought him “because I was trying to build this as a business on historic 66,” and mementos that Moore left in the hospital, including old vet textbooks and the name plate from his desk. He has sold the clinic to a nonveterinarian, Cy Betzler, who says he doesn’t know what he will do with the building yet. […]
Hamaker is building a clinic in Galloway, on its own site, and is proud not to be in a strip mall. He expressly didn’t seek out another veterinarian to buy the St. Louis Street hospital. “I couldn’t look another veterinarian in the eye and say, ‘Well, you only have three parking spaces, you can’t expand. … It would be like telling someone who wanted to start a restaurant, ‘But you’ll only have one table.'” […]

Layers of paint cover the woodwork, even though freshly painted and perfectly fine. The original old lavatories still stand, and there are cute touches of things as they were back when: a medicine cabinet whose door is held shut with a rubber band and paper clip; Moore’s old medicines, syringes and equipment such as the “Stethetron,” which even Hamaker doesn’t know how was used, except it was some kind of new-fangled stethoscope Moore picked up along the way — from the looks of it, in the ’50s. The sign which told customers there was extra parking available at the Texaco station to the west, when there was one. The old safe.

Like so much of central Springfield now, Hamaker is landlocked. We like to go to strip malls where parking is easy, or at least there are some handicapped spaces near the businesses we’re going to — unlike in downtown Springfield. So, another dear landmark fades into the sunset.

“I understand how people feel about it — this was their veterinary hospital,” Hamaker reflects. “It’s another reality of life, like the great vacant lot where you used to play stickball, and now it’s a supercenter.”

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