Lens on history: The first Mayo Clinic

The first Mayo Clinic outgrew its space within ten years. In 1986, it was razed to make way for the Siebens Building.

Skeptics scoffed. The building under construction on the site of the first Mayo family homestead was too big — there would NEVER be enough patients to fill it.

The country’s first structure designed to house a private group medical practice was built of red Pennsylvania brick and dedicated in 1914. The marble sign above the entrance read “Mayo Clinic.” The new name originated with physicians visiting surgical clinics at Saint Marys Hospital and caught on with patients, so the firm officially adopted it.

The most modern medical facility in the world became an international magnet. Nobel Prize-winning research was conducted here. The practice outgrew the space within 10 years, necessitating construction of a newer, larger Mayo Clinic (now the Plummer Building) in 1928.

The “first” Mayo Clinic became known as the “1914 red brick building.” Its significance in medical history led it to be designated a national landmark in 1970 and a state historical site in 1973. In 1986, it was razed to make way for the Siebens Building.

Next week: On the street where they lived.


Lens on History is a weekly photo feature by Cindy Scott, a volunteer at the History Center of Olmsted County. Thanks to the HCOC Research Center and Archive for this photo.

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