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Healing Garden 01

A Century of Healthcare Services

The history of Grinnell Regional Medical Center officially begins with the merger of two hospitals in 1967. The story of Grinnell’s hospitals begins many years earlier.

In 1901, at the urging of local citizens, Dr. P. E. Somers established a private hospital in his home on North Park Street. This was an eight-bed infirmary located across from the Grinnell College campus. The hospital served the community until 1905 when fire destroyed the home.

Grinnell opened its first municipal hospital in 1908. This hospital, located on the southeast corner of Elm Street and Sixth Avenue, was remarkably complete and had the finest in medical equipment for its time. This facility served the community until 1919.

In 1919, two new hospitals opened in in Grinnell. Community Hospital, a 45-bed facility, was organized as a stock company and incorporated under Iowa laws. It was located in west Grinnell on the site where GRMC now stands. St. Francis Hospital, a 35-bed facility, was owned and operated by the Sisters of St. Francis. It was located on the east side of Grinnell, now the site of St. Francis and Seeland Park.

In the 1960s, it became more and more difficult to operate two hospitals in the community due to rising costs, staffing problems, and antiquated facilities and equipment. The two hospitals merged in 1967 under the name Grinnell General Hospital in west Grinnell.

In 1970, the new Grinnell General Hospital completed construction of a two-story patient care wing. In 1974 and 1983, GRMC completed other building projects creating additional space for surgery, the emergency room, radiology, physical and respiratory therapy, laboratory, and a new chapel.

Grinnell General Hospital celebrated its silver anniversary in 1993 by announcing a name change to Grinnell Regional Medical Center to reflect the expanded healthcare services offered at GRMC as well as its regional reach.

By Elaine Noe, GRMC volunteer archivist (07/22/14)