The history of University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics can be traced back to 1873, when patient service began. The small medical department opened a hospital in conjunction with the Sisters of Mercy Catholic order. This lasted until 1885 when the two groups separated due to different priorities.

In 1898, the University of Iowa opened a new 65-bed hospital. This was built on the same site as the previous hospital, on the east side of the river. The most impressive feature of this institution was a 200-seat amphitheater for clinical instruction.

While the hospital remained on the east side, the University built the 150-bed Children’s Hospital in 1919 and the Psychopathic Hospital for those with mental illness in 1920.

After receiving a donation for $2.25 million from two Rockefeller foundations, the University of Iowa built the 770-bed modern University Hospital on the west side of the river. This facility remains as the foundation of the modern UI Hospitals & Clinics.

Medical Achievements

Along with a history of excellent patient care, UI Hospitals & Clinics and our doctors have been a part of a lot of important advances in medical science. The most well known of these are Ignacio Ponseti, MD, and his development of a method for treating clubfoot, and Elmer L. DeGowin, MD, and his development of a modern-day blood banking method. Continue reading about our accomplishments in our expanded list of medical achievements.

Timeline of Facilities

  • 1873: University of Iowa begins treated patients at the Mechanics Academy, a refurbished school building.
  • 1898: A 65-bed facility opens up University Hospital at what eventually became Seashore Hall.
  • 1919: Children’s Hospital opens on the west side of the river.
  • 1921: The Psycopathic Hospital (later known as the Psychiatric Hospital) opens.
  • 1928: The seven story, 770-bed General Hospital opens. It solidifies UI Hospitals & Clinics on the west side.
  • 1952: The 300-bed Veterans Administration Hospital opens in Iowa City.
  • 1974: UI Hospitals & Clinics begins an update of facilities that lasts through 2001.
  • 1976: Restored Boyd Tower opens.
  • 1985: Ronald McDonald House opens as a place for families of pediatric patients to stay be at home away from home.
  • 2017: University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital opens.