Dr. Warburton’s Office, Historic Landmark 10-195

Dr. Warburton's Office
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This building was the original office of Dr. Henry Hulme Warbuton, who built it on the corner of Main Street and Benton Street, Santa Clara, in the 1870s. In 1966, Dr. Warburton’s office was the first building to be relocated to History Park.

Dr. Henry Hulme Warburton

Dr. Henry Hulme Warburton was born May 23, 1819, in Betley, Staffordshire, England. His parents were Dr. John and Sarah Warburton. Henry Hulme was the eldest of a large family, a number of whom became doctors and lawyers. After attending school in Giggleswick, Yorkshire, he entered the London Hospital Medical Institute at the age of 22. Having completed a full course of study, he returned to Betley to practice medicine with his father until June, 1844.

Warburton left his home in Betley on June 18, 1844, to travel to New York, arriving July 9, 1844; he remained until the autumn of 1845. He then went to New London, Connecticut, where he became surgeon on a whaling vessel by the name of Corea under Captain Benjamin Hemstead. Serving in that capacity, he cruised the northwest coast of North America, traveled to New Zealand, and made several visits to the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii). In 1847, he arrived in San Francisco and resigned his commission as surgeon of the vessel. After visiting gold mines, he settled in Santa Clara in 1848, where he developed an extensive medical practice, being the first medical practitioner to settle there.

Dr. Warburton’s practice was extensive in California and extended even to Oregon and what was then called the Washington Territory. As long as fifty years after his death, a local drug store continued to fill prescriptions he had written for his patients.

Warburton met his wife-to-be, Catherine Pennel (nee Long), when as a widow with two small children, she sought out “The Little English Doctor.” They married in 1855 and had seven children, two of whom died in infancy. The other five children were Caroline Astoria, who married Samuel Jackson; Ellen Ann Warburton, who never married; John Garrett; Charles Pennington; and Henry Luke Warburton, who became a prominent Santa Clara banker.

Dr. Warburton was active in his community as a member of the Odd Fellows, an original member of Santa Clara Lodge No. 52, and as one of the four original contributors of $5,000 establishing the University of the Pacific in Santa Clara in 1851 at University Avenue and Bellomy Street. The University subsequently moved to where Bellarmine College Preparatory is now located in San Jose, and later again to its current location in Stockton.

Warburton’s office building was originally built at the southeast corner of Main and Benton Streets in Santa Clara in the 1870s. Many early doctors had offices in their homes; Dr. Warburton was an exception. However, in rural areas, much of the doctor’s time was spent making rounds and house visits.

Dr. Warburton did not use the building for long; however, a number of prominent doctors made use of the building as tenants, the last of which was George Washington Fowler, who lived in the building and practiced there for a total of 61 1/2 years.

Dr. Warburton continued practicing medicine in his later years, maintaining an office in his home. One rainy evening in 1903, he responded to a sick patient’s call, and returned home soaking wet, contracting pneumonia that led to his death. His wife Catherine passed away in 1905. Both are buried in the Santa Clara Cemetery along with most of their children.

After his death in 1903, many other physicians, and one dentist, Dr. Thomas Gallup, occupied the building. The building at 1099 Main Street was used as law offices from 1954 to 1964 until urban renewal in downtown Santa Clara threatened to destroy it.

(Biographical information provided in part by grandson Austen Warburton, in 1983)

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