The sounds of newborn babies wailing, the smell of pasteurized milk, loose strands of hair around a barber’s chair, and the laughter of a children playing upstairs were just common day-to-day occurrences for Dr. Ira Dailey during the 1940s. And while the medical practices of today have changed since that era, the same small-town spirit of health care returns to Micanopy.
It’s been more than 70 years since the historic town last had a practicing doctor, and on Oct. 1 residents welcomed Dr. Jon Hemstreet to his new practice, Micanopy Health & Wellness, located a three-minute walk from the center of town.
Hemstreet, a Micanopy resident for the past three years, moved his practice from Gainesville Family Physicians on northwest 43rd street, a nearly half-hour drive from his new practice. For the doctor, the move was a chance to have his own practice — a change from the fast pace that corporate health care organizations can bring. Hemstreet added that a key motive was to dedicate more time to individuals and their wellness goals.
“You don’t have enough time to donate to patients in a corporate medicine setting,” Hemstreet said. “I’m hoping to have the opportunity to spend as much time as needed with patients, and build that patient-physician relationship.”
The doctor’s new practice at 504 NE Cholokka Blvd. was the former historic post office during the 1950s. The building’s renovations accommodate two examination rooms, a reception area, a waiting room and an office in the back.
Hemstreet aimed for larger rooms for patients as well as natural lighting to shift away from the feeling of a “traditional” doctor’s office and yet avoid any serious altercations to the building’s historic structure. Town residents eagerly await their first doctor in more than seven decades.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Hemstreet to town,” said Monica Beth Fowler, owner of Delectable Collectables and resident of Micanopy for 38 years. “He’s a wonderful asset to the community.”
Daily operated his practice in Micanopy from 1916 until 1947. He owned the Micanopy Drug Co. that stood where The Shop is located today. Dailey and his family lived upstairs from the practice, where he delivered babies and provided care for his patients, before closing their doors.
Most health care practices for the region are located 20 minutes north in Gainesville, many times the only option for residents seeking medical help. The long drive can be difficult for Micanopy’s aging residents, so Hemstreet’s new location is welcomed.
John E. Thrasher III, whose family heritage ties to 1870s Micanopy, now spends his Wednesdays volunteering at the Micanopy Historical Society Archives. He looks forward to having Hemstreet so close, nearly across the street from the archives.
“It’s good timing,” Thrasher said. “I recently had a pacemaker put in. If anything ever went wrong, I won’t have to go far to get the help I need.”
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