The Academic Health Center History Project documents and preserves the institutional memory and historical events that chronicle the development of health sciences education and research at the University of Minnesota.

As CUHCC Changes

The Community University Health Care Center (CUHCC) opened in 1966 to provide the children of South Minneapolis with a comprehensive medical-dental care program. Now, CUHCC is the primary medical and dental clinic for patients of all different ages and locales. CUHCC was first opened under a protocol of offering eligible children a program of total medical and dental care with emphasis on prevention. Eligibility depended on the total income for the family to which the child belonged and whether the child lived within the geographic limits of CUHCC.

The total income eligibility requirement was based on whether the family fell under the Social Security Act’s guidelines for poverty level. The clinic used a sliding fee scale so patients who could not pay much could still get complete health care, with the reasoning behind opening a clinic where money was of a lesser concern was based on a National Advisory Committee on Health Manpower report that concluded that medical costs would soon exceed the general cost of living increases.

Soon after CUHCC opened, the specialists served what some considered to be the largest Native American population in the country, with up to 9,000 Native Americans living in the area at certain times during the year. In 1974, the director of the clinic estimated proportions to the Minnesota Daily, listing 44 percent of the clientele as Native American, five to 10 percent black, and the rest white. In 2009, 64% of the patients seen at CUHCC were people of color, immigrants, or refugees: 31% were black, African, or African American; 16% were Asian or Pacific Islander; 12% were Latino; and 5% were Native Americans.

In 1975, CUHCC began to treat adults. These adults were originally the parents and family members of children already being seen at CUHCC, but that soon changed to any adults living in the geographic boundary. When CUHCC moved to its new location on Bloomington Avenue, the geographic limits originally imposed on patients were removed, so now any patient who falls below the poverty line can be seen at CUHCC.

Thumbnail image for CUHCC.jpgCUHCC.pdf

The Millard Halls

img0200.jpgMillard Hall, corner of Washington and Union.

Millard Hall, constructed in 1911 and opened in 1912, served as a complimentary facility to the recently opened Anatomy Hall, now Jackson Hall. Millard Hall provided laboratory research space and departmental headquarters for most faculty in the Medical School. Millard Hall was torn down in 1999, along with Owre Hall and Lyon Laboratories, to make way for the Molecular and Cellular Biology building.

But did you know there was a Millard Hall before this Millard Hall? Did you know the original Millard Hall is still standing on campus, albeit under a different name?

img0201.jpgThe first Millard Hall opened in October of 1892 as Medical Hall on the corner of Arlington and Pleasant. This was the first new building on campus dedicated to the medical sciences. Dean Perry Millard provided nearly $65,000 of the construction costs and the legislature appropriated $80,000. After Dean Millard’s death the building was named in his honor in 1906. When the new Medical School opened in 1912 the name was transferred to the new location.

img0202.jpgThe original Millard Hall.

What became of the old Millard Hall? In 1913 the College of Pharmacy, under the leadership of Dean Frederick Wulling, moved into the space. In 1942 the building was renamed in his honor and retains that designation today.

Today the building no longer serves as an educational home to any of the health sciences on campus, but it remains the first building constructed for medical education and has outlasted many that have come after it, including the new Millard Hall.

Elliot Memorial Hospital

This September marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of Elliot Memorial Hospital at the University of Minnesota. Elliot was the first building on campus built as a hospital facility and designed to be closely tied to medical education on campus.

After its opening in 1911, Elliot became the focal point for all new health sciences construction. Additions on the east side included the Frank Todd Memorial Hospital in 1924 with specialty clinics for ophthalmology and otolaryngology and the George Chase Christian Memorial Cancer Hospital in 1925. Additions on its west side included the Minnesota Hospital and Home for Crippled Children (later known as the Eustis Children’s Hospital) in 1928 and the Student Health Services building in 1929.

Across the courtyard from Elliot and its additions, Jackson (1912), Millard (1912), and Owre (1932) halls opened to expand the research and clinical facilities.

In 1951 the Variety Club Heart Hospital opened on the south side of Elliot with a skyway bridge connecting the two facilities.

In 1954 the Mayo Memorial Hospital, built in the courtyard area in front of Elliot, became the new face of the University Hospitals and forever obscured the front entrance of Elliot by using it as a connector to a new wing of the Mayo building and tower.

Today Elliot can only be seen in its original form from the south on a service road next to Variety Club Research Center.

Below are a few photographs depicting Elliot, the original additions, and the final view of its entrance prior to the construction of Mayo.

Elliot Memorial Hospital.



Elliot Hospital with the Todd and Christian additions.


Hospital complex including (left-right) Christian, Todd, Elliot, Eustis, and Health Services viewed from the intersection of Harvard and Delaware.


Final view of Elliot entrance prior to the construction of Mayo Memorial.


Making plans

In the fall of 1964, University of Minnesota president, O. Meredith Wilson, appointed a long-range planning committee for the planned physical expansion of the health sciences to correspond with a Board of Regents review of the current health workforce sponsored by the Hill Foundation. Often referred to as the “Learn Committee” in reference to its chair, Elmer Learn, the Committee for the Study of Physical Facilities for the Health Sciences completed its work by 1968 after issuing a three-part report titled “Future Planning for the Health Sciences.”

Although these two events are viewed as the beginning of the expansion of health education and facilities on campus, there are clues that the preparation for their work began a few years earlier.

In 1962 a gathering of data about existing facilities used for health science education and research occurred. It is unclear from the documents who gathered the information or to whom it was directed, but they prove to be interesting none the less.

The first document below lists all buildings associated with medical education at the University of Minnesota. The list is divided into two sections; first the “Old Medical Group,” an area on campus situated just south of the Pleasant St. loop and second, the “New Medical Group,” an area south of Washington Ave and still home to a large majority of health sciences facilities. The list also includes building dates and changes to the building names over the years.



The second document is based on the information collection in the first; however, this document provides building valuations for each facility. It lists the total construction cost, the amount of state or federal contributions, and any major gift or endowment associated with the building.



Old building, new spaces

We are accustomed to thinking that all growth and new facilities are the result of new construction on campus. Occasionally, old spaces are made to serve new purposes. With the construction of the Central Corridor Light Rail on campus, the former Mayo Memorial Building parking garage is in the process of being redesigned to house sensitive laboratory equipment away from the rail line.

Above the garage, the former Mayo Circle is now in the process of being converted into an all-pedestrian space to also mitigate vibration for the laboratories.


Below are a few photographs of the same space during the original construction in 1950 & 1951.

Looking NE toward Harvard St. with Owre & Millard in the background. 1950

Looking SW toward Elliot & Eustis. 1951

Looking SW toward Elliot & Eustis under a layer of snow. 1951

ABCs of facility planning

In 1964 University of Minnesota President Wilson initiated the University Long-Range Planning Committee for the Health Sciences. Part of this committee’s charge was to determine the needed facilities to maintain and grow the programs in the Health Sciences.

The Health Sciences Design Coordinating Committee developed a framework for this growth in 1968 and published its schedule in the Health Sciences Planning Report.

The expansion project quickly became known for its use of alphabetical monikers to denote the new construction. Many of these alphabetical references are still used today often interchangeably with the facility’s given name.

Find your own building’s place in the alphabet and its original purpose then see which letters never made the transition from paper to brick and mortar.

Unit A: To house general dental clinics, School of Dentistry administration, basic science, medical, and public health teaching labs as well as general classrooms. The first of the expansion projects, the facility would later be named the Malcolm Moos Health Sciences Tower.

Unit B/C: To provide outpatient and ambulatory care, new emergency room, surgical and other research facilities, diagnostic radiation facility, and additional hospital beds. Designated at its design as the Phillips-Wangensteen Research Building.

Unit D: Subterranean facility adjacent to the Masonic Memorial Cancer Hospital to house radiation therapy. Considered part of the first phase of development to be initiated by 1973, the unit was unable to reach the revised 50-50 match required by federal guidelines in 1978.

Unit E: Designed to be a service center for storage, supply, and dietary kitchens with a proposed cafeteria and dining service on upper levels. Later named the Health Sciences Receiving and Distribution Center the unit is accessible via the delivery access area on East River Parkway underneath the Dwan Variety Club Cardiovascular Research Center and the Masonic Cancer Research Building.

Unit F: To provide additional shared classrooms and house the College of Pharmacy. Modified in 1975 to also include the School of Nursing, the building is now Weaver-Densford Hall.

Unit G: Proposed to expand shared classrooms and teaching labs, the building’s tower would house the remainder of the School of Public Health. The 1977 legislature removed funding for this unit and made the School of Public Health the only school to be without a building plan in the expansion project. The unit would have been built on the northwest corner of Harvard & Delaware, the current location of the Phi Chi Medical Fraternity house and the hospital parking ramp.

Unit H: Subterranean structure to tie the old and new hospital units together via a ground level concourse and provides expansion for surgery suites. Unit H became unified with Unit J as part of the second phase of expansion through 1986.

Unit J: Proposed new hospital facilities located on the former site of Powell Hall. Today’s University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview.

Unit K: Expanded cardiovascular research center with a probable location west of the Variety Club Heart Hospital. Unit K would later be combined with Unit E development to form Unit K/E. Today Unit K is the Dwan Variety Club Cardiovascular Research Center.

There is no mention of a Unit I. View a 1968 illustration of the proposed development through 1986.


What did this place used to be?

From time to time, I get questions about what a certain office, location, or building use to be prior to its current function. These are always fun to answer and usually provide a sense of institutional history to the person who asked the question.

img0148.jpgA recent donation by the AHC Office of Facilities & Capital Planning to the archives has made this task even easier. Pictured is a 239 page listing of each room and its use in the health sciences complex from February 1982. The document, titled “Current Assignment of Health Science Space: Detail by Building and Room,” is particularly helpful because it provides information on how the Mayo Memorial Building served as both a patient care facility as well as research/office space prior to the construction of the new hospital in 1986.

A few examples include:

In 1982 Room #602 in Children’s Rehab Center was a faculty office. Today it is my office.

In 1982 Rooms #605-607C in Mayo were Psychiatry faculty offices located near patient rooms. Today it is the Medical School Dean’s office.

In 1982 395A Mayo was a Coffee Shop. Today it is the AHC Office of Communications office.

With this handy reference tool, feel free to ask “What did this place used to be?”

To honor a president

img0141.jpgIn honor of Presidents Day this week, it seems appropriate to look at one of our own university presidents and the history behind the naming of the Malcolm Moos Health Sciences Tower.

Dedicated in 1971 as Unit A Health Sciences Tower, the building was the first in the planned complex of health science facilities that would create functional administrative and laboratory space twenty-two-stories high above the Twin Cities campus.

In February 1980, the Board of Regents discussed the need to appropriately honor President Emeritus Moos by naming a building on campus after him. Malcolm Moos, the tenth president of the University of Minnesota and the first graduate of the university to hold the position, served as president from 1967 to 1974. The Regents suggested Unit A as a way to recognize the administrative reorganization and physical expansion of the health sciences during his tenure. Then president C. Peter Magrath followed by requesting Dr. Lyle French, Vice President for Health Sciences, to formally nominate the name change to the Honors Committee.

After the building’s original dedication, opinion regarding potential naming opportunities proliferated. Suggestions of people to honor included Dr. Gaylord Anderson, Dr. Elexius Bell, Dr. William Crawford, Dr. Charles Hewitt, Dr. Henry Michelson, Dr. Maurice Visscher, and Dr. Cecil J. Watson. Even after the Regents suggested Moos as an appropriate name, some thought it did not follow the established guidelines for naming a building after a president. Specifically, the building did not serve a general university purpose.

In January 1982, Malcolm Moos passed away at the age of 65.

That April, the Regents unanimously approved a resolution to rename the building and on May 13, 1983 of the following year a name changing ceremony took place.

In 2005, the Regents renamed a second health sciences building to honor the thirteenth University of Minnesota president. The Basic Sciences and Biomedical Engineering Building (BSBE) became Nils Hasselmo Hall.

Wind tunnel

img0111.jpg“A wind advisory has been issued…”

If you work within earshot of a functioning intercom speaker in any of the health sciences facilities, you will recognize the implications of the above alert. The wind gusts through the tunnel area between the Malcolm Moos Health Sciences Tower (Unit A) and the Philips-Wangensteen Building (Unit B/C) has the power to stop you in your tracks, push you back, and quite possibly knock you over.

It does not take a particularly windy day to create this effect. In fact, the narrow space within this cluster of buildings amplifies any sustained wind.

The force of this unintentional wind tunnel became evident after the completion of the Philips-Wangensteen Building in 1979. Shortly thereafter, concerns developed about how the problem might be aggravated by the next phase of planned construction: the new hospital (Unit J). Two major fears were that the new hospital would increase the wind shear at the pedestrian level or may cause a downward draft bringing chemical fumes vented from the roof tops of the Mayo Building and Diehl Hall.

After a wind related “incident” in January of 1980 at the outpatient entrance on Delaware St., a memo suggested the need to evaluate the extreme wind conditions and to develop a plan to minimize the risks. That memo led to a 1981 study of the wind tunnel effect at the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The 1980 memo and subsequent documentation on implementing the wind tunnel study are available below. Or, read the final technical report issued by the WBWT in 1982.



img0108.jpgWhat would you salvage from a building before it is torn down?

Fire hoses, time clocks, light fixtures, outlet & switch cover plates, drinking fountains, p-traps from sinks, window screens, paper towel dispensers, and elevators #20 & #21 are just a few of the items the University Hospitals requested to be salvaged from Powell Hall prior to its demolition in 1981. The building was located on the site of today’s University of Minnesota Medical Center.

Powell Hall was built as a residence hall for student nurses and their supervisors. Dedicated in 1933 as the Nurses’ Hall, it was later named for Louise Powell, Superintendent of Nurses and later Director of the School of Nursing from 1910-1924, on the occasion of the School’s 30th anniversary in 1939. The building was easily identifiable by the bronze cupola on its roof. The cupola now serves as a historical marker near the original site. The picture above was taken after the cupola was removed.

University Hospitals were not the only interested party in salvaging material from Powell Hall. Other University departments and private individuals laid claim to materials and mementos in the months leading up to the demolition. Written requests for salvaged materials included windows, a dumbwaiter, wood paneling, chandeliers, patio stones, and an offer to provide a new home for a wishing well.

Did you take home a souvenir from Powell Hall? Let us know with a comment!

Read the document below to learn more about the pre-demolition salvage operation and see who got what.