By the last decade of the 19th century, Owen Sound was one sick town. With regularity, epidemics swept the community, bringing with them illness and death. The usual treatment of such diseases at the time was the isolation of those who had become ill. lt was an age when the few hospitals that did exist were little more than isolation wards, offering only a minimum of treatment. An outbreak of typhoid in 1885 led to the rental of a vacant house to serve as a temporary hospital. Four years later, the area medical committee drove home to town council the need for a more permanent solution to the town's medical needs. A plan was drawn up and a promise of $1,000 from Grey County led the committee to approach Owen Sound's town council. The Owen Sound Advertiser reported, "After a special committee had considered that matter for two weeks, the Owen Sound Town Council pledged $600 from its revenues, another $1,000 from a bequest left in trust to the town for charitable purposes and a parcel of land in the south end of the town.” Spearheaded by prominent citizens such as S. J. Parker, J. M. Kilbourn, William Roy, John Harrison, and Frederick d'Orr, a major drive for funds was launched. As a result, the Owen Sound General and Marine Hospital officially opened its doors on June 21, 1893. The hospital had many growing pains during its early years but by the time the Spanish flu epidemic rolled into town in 1918, bringing with it 2,000 reported cases in Owen Sound, the hospital was ready and waiting.