Imagine sitting at the dentist, getting a routine check up, when suddenly the doctor coughs in your face—and again, several times during the procedure. You later hear that he has tuberculosis. After many patients had heard this, John Henry “Doc” Holliday lost nearly all of his business.
Doc moved to Dallas, Texas in search of a drier climate and a fresh start in dentistry. He found what he was looking for as far as dentistry was concerned; but Dallas, located in the heart of North Central Texas, is very humid in the spring and summer seasons. However, he did find several adventures that built the foundation of the Doc Holliday legacy.
In 1873, Doc Holliday became acquainted with John A. Seegar, a Georgian like Doc, who also had a dental practice in Dallas. They became partners and located their practice between Market and Austin Streets on Elm Street. With the help of some awards given at a local exposition, also printed in the Dallas newspaper, their practice became quite successful.
Best set of teeth on vulcanized rubber, premium, Seegar & Holliday $5 and Best display of artificial teeth and dental wire, premium, Seegar & Holliday, $5.
Doc’s success slowed dramatically as his tubercular condition worsened. This sent him in search of a new way of life. Soon he discovered the fast, rich, and often dangerous world beginning with gaming at Julian Bogelís Saloon.
Searching for the former location of Seegar and Holliday’s dental office unfortunately proved the original buildings are no longer there. The current location is the entrance to a parking garage. Stopping to say hello to the attendant, I realized he had no idea what history was associated with his workplace. But what else is on Doc’s old block? Next door to his former dental office is none other than a cantina of which Doc certainly would have approved. This site is on the same Elm Street where JFK was assassinated, which is only three or four blocks west.
If you ever catch yourself at the Sixth Floor Museum, which commemorates Kennedy’s assassination, or at the infamous grassy knoll, simply walk east and look for the parking garage on Elm (just east of Market Street), and while you are at it, have a drink at the cantina. Doc would have.
Erik J. Wright is an aspiring writer currently attending high school in Weatherherd, Texas. This is his first published article. (Kudos Erik!)