Anoka County History: The James Kline family of Anoka

Anoka’s Kline Sanitarium was built in 1902.

It sits next to the Anoka-Champlin Bridge over the Mississippi River on south Ferry Street.

Built with a red pressed brick veneer, it is a combination of four architectural styles.

There were three stories with 54 rooms that could accommodate 30 patients, a conservatory, operating rooms, bathrooms and reception rooms.

There was steam heat and electricity throughout the building. In fact, one of Dr. James Kline’s specialties was the treatment of nervous disorders through the use of electricity.

He was also famous for treatment of “catarrh” and other respiratory diseases. Restorative baths and massages were also available to patients.

The three story building also has a full basement. All floors are hardwood, which are easier to clean, as cleanliness was a watchword throughout the building.

The main floor was devoted to consultation offices, a drug room and a culinary department as patients sometimes had to wait several hours to see the doctor, and were served meals during those waits.

The second floor consisted of 18 additional rooms for the sick. An elevator lifted patients from second floor to the third floor.

An optical department was added later under the direction of Dr. R. N. Springer.

With the establishment of Dr. James Kline’s sanitarium, his boyhood dream began to unfold and Anoka became famous as a place to seek restored health.

Patients came from all over Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, Iowa and other states.

I can remember, as a young teen on the way to the Rice street beach, seeing cars with license plates from all those locations.

Dr. Kline also developed a remedy for gall bladder afflictions, as well as a whole line of other remedies.

These were dispensed throughout the countryside via his medicine wagons, and by 1904 were shipped to every state in the union.

Dr. Kline and his wife Anna Kline had four children.

Stella was born in 1890 in California. The other three were all born in Minnesota: Jessie in 1892, Harry was born in 1894, and Franklin in 1908.

Harry also became a doctor and worked with his father and became proprietor of the sanitarium after his father died in 1932.
Franklin Kline became a dentist and practiced in Anoka until his retirement. Dr. Franklin was known as “Pete” to all of us who knew him.

The Klines belonged to the First Baptist Church in Anoka, where Anna was Sunday school teacher.

During one of the Sunday school picnics, young Franklin and some other boys were playing with bb guns and Franklin lost the sight in one eye.

Another service performed by Dr. James Kline was as health officer for the city of Anoka.

He worked nine years for the Great Northern Railroad as a surgeon. He was also the medical examiner for the Masonic lodges and for the New York Life Insurance Co.

He was also a member of several civic organizations.

The state of Minnesota eventually dedicated the new concrete bridge over the Mississippi River to Dr. and Mrs. Kline. It was four lanes across the river.

There was much pomp and circumstance during the dedication, with a bronze plaque at the sight.

This was all in recognition of their work to serve Minnesotans in the field of medicine and public welfare.

Dr. James Kline did much service for the city of Anoka, its people, the people of Minnesota and the surrounding states.

Next week, I’ll write more about the Sanitarium and Dr. Harry Kline, his ideas and medical contributions.

Editor’s note: Tom Ward is a board member for the Anoka County Historical Society

Comments Closed