The history of Cleveland Clinic dates back in 1921 when George W. Crille, MD, organized a medical-surgical unit in Cleveland. It consists of volunteers from Western Reserve University Lakeside Hospital. They served the injured and the sick during the time of World War I. Crille, along with two other volunteers, thought of establishing a group that cares for the wounded of the war. When the three came back from the war, they asked another physician from Cleveland to participate in a group practice.

During the establishment of the Cleveland Clinic, arguments and opposition arose because of the idea of group medical practice. Nevertheless, the vision was realized because Crile, Bunts, and Lower were had great reputation, and all of them assumed the position of the president of the local Academy of Medicine at one point in their life.

Crile and his group acquired land and founded a four-story building. The establishment had facilities for in-patient and outpatient hospitalization and a medical laboratory. The building is still in use at present. Two days after a private dedication ceremony, Cleveland Clinic officially opened on February 28, 1921. On the day of their opening, they recorded 42 patients. The founders of the clinic bought four homes near the clinic to be used for radiation treatment and hospitalization. They purchased the fifth home to be used for diabetic patients receiving insulin treatments. In 1924, a hospital was constructed to cater to the growing number of patients.

A catastrophe took over the clinic on May 15, 1929, when the nitrocellulose x-ray films in the outpatient building burned. More than a hundred people died in that incident, and 92 were left injured. John Phillips, one of the founders, was one of the casualties in the fire.

Samuel Mather, a philanthropist, established a group that helped Cleveland Clinic bounce after the disaster. They built makeshift quarters across the street. After five days, the clinic operations resumed. In 1921, the building was completely restored. A decade later, a new building was founded, and in 1941, they were able to pay all their debts.

In the same year, Crile and Lower resumed to their administrative positions. Cleveland Clinic’s Naval Reserve Unit established a mobile hospital in New Zealand in 1942. Cleveland Clinic officially adopted leadership by the Board of Governors, who were all physicians. The physicians elected nine governors who work with the CEO to oversee the overall operations of the clinic. Cleveland Clinic is made up of the division, department, and the section. Chairs headed both divisions and departments, while heads led sections.

In the early 1970s, Cleveland Clinic constructed new operating rooms to cater to the growing volumes of patients, especially for cardiac surgery. The Martha Holding Jennings Education Building was established in 1964. In 1974, a new building dedicated to research was erected. A laboratory medicine building was established in 1980 on Carnegie Avenue. The Century Project, a group of buildings, was Kiser’s answer to the growing number of patients in the 1970s. It is now known as the Crile Building, which was designed by Cesar Pelli.

Click here for more information.