Mayo Clinic’s 1914 Building

Downtown Rochester

Mayo Clinic’s 1914 Building

Rochester, Minnesota 55902, United States

Created By: History Center of Olmsted County


By 1911, Drs. Will and Charlie Mayo’s medical practice had outgrown its rental location in the Masonic Temple. The Drs. Mayo and their partners needed a new building. Dr. Henry Plummer teamed with St. Paul’s Ellerbe & Rounds to design a unique medical facility, the first of its kind. So unusual was the concept that critics labeled the endeavor as “Plummer’s Folly,” predicting its swift failure. Despite many naysayers, construction began in 1912 on the site of Dr. William Worrall Mayo’s home. On October 9, 1912, the cornerstone was laid. The doors opened to patients on March 6, 1914. The building, later dubbed the “1914 Building,” was the first to carry the name “Mayo Clinic.” Its striking red brick and cream stone trim exterior was impressive, but its interior was even more so. Patients entered to a lobby filled with potted palm trees and cushioned wicker chairs. Sunlight filtered through several skylights and beautiful tile, custom-crafted by Ohio’s Rookwood Pottery Company, covered the floors, walls and double staircase. Many innovative ideas were installed due to Dr. Plummer’s involvement, including a pneumatic tube system for delivery of medical records, mail and other documents, and a ventilation system that allowed fresh air to circulate throughout every three minutes. When the Plummer Building was completed next door in 1928, the front entrance was closed and patients and staff accessed it through the Plummer. The building closed to the public in 1973 and was razed in 1986, making room for the fourteen-story Siebens Building.

History Center of Olmsted County

This point of interest is part of the tour: Downtown Rochester


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