Cleveland Clinic Company History Timeline

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Four Cleveland physicians founded the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in February 1921 with a desire to create an institution dedicated not only to medical care, but also to research, innovation, and physician education.

Cleveland doctors George W. Crile, Frank E. Bunts, William E. Lower, and John Phillips founded the Cleveland Clinic Foundation on February 5, 1921.

A four-story outpatient building was constructed, and Cleveland Clinic was dedicated at a private ceremony on February 26, 1921.

Doctor William Mayo delivers the keynote address at the dedication of the new offices on February 26, 1921.

Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation.


In 1922 the founders purchased four private homes nearby for hospitalization, radiation treatment, and administration.


The clinic grew rapidly, building a new hospital in 1924.

To meet rising patient volume, a 184-bed hospital was built in 1924, located at East 90th Street and Carnegie Avenue.


Unfortunately, the foundation faced a major setback as a result of the Cleveland Clinic fire in May 1929.

On May 15, 1929, nitrocellulose x-ray films stored in the basement of the outpatient building ignited.

Three of the four founders had served together in a United States Army medical unit in France during World War I. The Cleveland Clinic Disaster of 1929 - a basement fire caused by combustible x-ray film that left 123 dead - was a tragedy that temporarily set back the hospital’s progress.


The clinic's leadership also founded the Cleveland Clinic Educational Foundation in 1935.


Clinic physicians performed the first coronary angiography in 1958 and continued to be pioneers in the field of heart surgery in the proceeding decades.


By 1960, the Cleveland Clinic had also become a national leader in cardiac care.


The Martha Holden Jennings Education Building opened in 1964, with an auditorium named for Doctor Bunts.


Completed in 1985, the Century Project includes a 14-story outpatient building (now known as the Crile Building) designed by architect Cesar Pelli.


In 1988, the foundation opened up a second facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, known as Cleveland Clinic Florida.


First successful larynx transplant (1998)


First kidney surgery performed through the navel (2007)


In 2008, Cleveland Clinic became the first healthcare provider in the United States to become a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact and the second in the world.


First nearly-full face transplant (2009)


Without whose aid : wisdom, compassion, and courage : Cleveland Clinic nurses tell their stories, 2nd ed. by editors, Michelle Braunscheidel, Judy Pearce, Sandra Shumway, 2010


Nation’s first transcatheter valve replacement and repair (2011)


In 2020, there were 8.7 million total outpatient visits, 273,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 217,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system.


Cleveland Clinic © 2021.

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