Anoka County History: The Kline Sanitarium in Anoka

This writing today will take you from 1893 to July 13 and 14 of this year. I will be writing for three more weeks on this interesting history in Anoka.

This undated postcard image of the Kline Sanitarium, likely from the early 20th century, depicts the entire hospital staff in front. Submitted photo
This undated postcard image of the Kline Sanitarium, likely from the early 20th century, depicts the entire hospital staff in front. Submitted photo

The memories and research started, as I wrote, on July 13 and 14, when we, the Anoka County Historical Society, held our annual Anoka Heritage

Home and Garden Tour with our partners with the Anoka Heritage Preservation Commission. I was there on that Sunday, July 14.

The tour stretched from Ferry Street down to the dead end on Benton Street. There was not a parking spot left on the four blocks all the way to the old Rice Street Beach, which I will talk about later.

This year’s home and garden tour was one of the most successful one in its 10-year history.

I stopped and visited with several folks I know and with some others. Several of them asked how come the big stone house at 317 Rice Street was not on the list.

My former wife and I bought that home in 1961 and she still lives there. I will relate later this month about the curiosity that started in 1924 and continues to this day about that grand structure.

Another nearby structure that was not on this year’s tour was the former Kline Sanitarium on Ferry Street. It’s a lovely building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

At the Anoka County History Center, we have on file a great deal of information on Dr. James Kline written by Mary Ann Kiefer in 1989.

Dr. Kline was born in Richville, Pa., on Jan. 4, 1862. As a boy in Allentown, Pa.. he witnessed his mother bearing the pain of gall bladder stones.

He determined then to become a doctor and find a way to help people with gall bladder problems.

He graduated from business school in Cleveland, Ohio. He then moved to Minneapolis for more education and met his bride to be.

She was Anna Griffith and they married in September 1885. They saved up enough money so that he could attend the University of Minnesota. He became Dr. Kline with his degree in homeopathic medicine.

They moved to Anoka in 1893 and bought out the practice of Dr. Brown who had a small clinic on Branch and west Main Street where the Thurston Funeral Home now is.

During the next nine years Dr. James Kline did much to accentuate and promote Anoka’s reputation as a healthful city.

In 1902, with the growth of his medical practice and his reputation, Dr James Kline elected to build a sanitarium, that beautiful brick building on Ferry Street overlooking the Mississippi River near the Anoka-Champlin Bridge.

Today, that beautiful building is the Pierce Motel and Apartments which I will write about next week.

We will continue with more on Kline’s two sons Dr. Harry Kline and Dr. Franklin Kline.

Editor’s note: Tom Ward is on the board of directors for the Anoka County Historical Society

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