The storm that shaped the Mayo Clinic


ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — It hasn’t happened this year, this decade, or even this century, but it is a storm that has stood the test of time: the cyclone of 1883.

More than 100 years ago, the mayor of Rochester sent a telegram to the governor of Minnesota saying, “Rochester in ruins.”

“The city has just been nailed down,” said Olmsted County History Center communications director Caleb Baumgartner. “About a third of the city of Rochester was wiped out by the tornado. Destruction on a scale people have never seen before.”

The infamous 1883 cyclone killed 40 people and injured over 200.

“You have houses that have collapsed, people injured, people killed,” said Sister Ramona Miller of Assisi Heights. “And Dr WW Mayo and his two sons were both in medical school. They came to start helping people and where are they going to take the injured if everyone’s houses collapse?

Between the wreckage and the rubble there was motivation to start something that had never been done before.

“Mother Alfred had the academy,” Sister Miller said. “It was a building where they could house the injured because there was no hospital here. This put an idea in Mother Alfred’s mind… She was truly an entrepreneur. She realized that the town doesn’t have a hospital and that won’t be the last time you need a hospital. She said: ‘Dr. WW Mayo, I want to talk to you about building a hospital. It is this famous story that convinces him to build a hospital.

It created, in a sense, the perfect storm.

“They discussed it, they agreed and, very importantly, they shook hands,” said Matthew Dacy, Heritage Hall, director of the clinic at the Mayo Museum. “They never had a legal agreement, they just trusted each other. And that’s the heart of teamwork.

As for that teamwork today? Everything is different, but nothing has changed.

“It’s remarkable when you think about how different our world today, the 21st century, is from 1883,” Dacy said. “But what never changes is this values-based commitment to serve patients, but to serve each other and our community.”

Rochester, a city that might not have its reputation, were it not for the storm that shaped it.

“Without the 1883 cyclone, you wouldn’t have Mayo,” Baumgartner said.

“I think when you go back to the roots, you realize that those very humble beginnings have a profound outcome,” Dacy said.

Copyright 2022 KTTC. All rights reserved.

Source link


Comments are closed.