Chapler-Osborn Clinic Hospital, Dexter, Iowa

Both Dr. Keith M. Chapler and Dr. C. Robert Osborn were interns at Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines. Dr. Chapler came to Dexter in 1933. Dr. Osborn started in Menlo, but worked with Dr. Chapler at the Dexter clinic, which was was the former office of Dr. Sherman, on the second floor of the bank building–where the library is today. They were both at work at the clinic the day two members of the Barrow Gang were brought in after the Dexfield Park shootout.

This is a much earlier picture, but Dr. Chapler’s first clinic was on the second floor of this corner building.

The two doctors decided to go into partnership in 1936. Their first clinic and hospital in Dexter, in the J. H. (Jake) Lenocker residence near the south end of Marshall Street, had five beds, two cribs, and three employees.

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They moved in 1940 to the Robinson estate residence just east of the Presbyterian Church.


An early addition was an enlargement of the basement and installation of laundry equipment.

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Nurse Mary Pickett with some of the area’s post-war baby boom. June 30, 1949

In 1959 a new hospital wing with room for sixteen beds was built next to the old clinic, along with a surgery, laboratory, kitchen, nursery, and lobby. Besides the two doctors, there were forty employees.

By 1966, the surgery had become a men’s ward with four beds. All major surgery was sent to Des Moines. A new emergency room was opened for emergencies and minor surgeries.

Roy Evans Funeral Home and Ambulance Service provided 24-hour emergency and ambulance service. Isenberg Pharmacy serviced the hospital. Either Harland Isenberg or Robert Weesner visited the hospital daily.

During the time that the two doctors practiced in Dexter, the population of the town fluctuated between about 650 and 750 residents, with hundreds more living on area farms. They also drew patients from other small towns around Dexter.

1973–Forty Years of Service

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Dr. Osborn also served in the US Navy in World War II.

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The Dexter hospital closed in 1980.

Several items have been donated to the Dexter Museum by Drs. Chapler and Osborn. There are notebooks with pictures of babies they delivered through the decades.

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  1. The three of us girls were all delivered by Dr. Chapler. Dr. Chapter would come out to our house when the three of us were sick. I can remember him coming out when all three of us had the mumps and were so sick. We even got to sleep downstairs in mom and dads bed.

    • Do you know which doctor delivered you? Chapler or Osborn? (Both of them patched up Buck and Blanche Barrow after the shootout in Dexfield park (1933)!

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