Then and Now: The UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital

A look back at the early days of pediatric care at UI, in pictures.

Last month, university and community members received their first glimpse inside the new University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital at a dedication ceremony and two open houses.

The completion of the $360-million, 12-story tower—which will begin serving patients later this winter—marks a new chapter in a nearly century-long tradition of pediatric care at the University of Iowa.

UI built its first children’s hospital in 1919 on the west side of the river, serving young patients in a low-slung, brick-lined complex with 150 beds. In 1954, pediatric patients were moved to what was then known as University Hospitals, with pediatric services located throughout the facility. Today, the UI Children’s Hospital is regarded among the best in the nation and serves more than 67,000 patients annually from across the U.S.

As the opening of the state-of-the-art building approaches, it’s a fitting time to look back on the early days of the original children’s hospital. The photos are courtesy of the Fred W. Kent Collection of Photographs at UI Libraries’ Special Collections.

A pair of young patients in the original University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, 1934.

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The original children’s hospital is pictured on the University of Iowa’s west-side medical campus in the 1920s.

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Santa Claus visits a ward, 1926.

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Patients gather in a work room, 1920.

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Nurses weigh babies in the infant ward, 1919.

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Children are wheeled out onto the veranda to get fresh air, January 1923.

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A child with a shoe brace, June 1937.

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Patients in the boys’ ward, January 1923.

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Nurses care for babies in the infant ward, May 1919.

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The original Children’s Hospital’s central administrative section, September 1941.

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The original children’s hospital and its circular driveway, 1920s.

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One Comment

  1. B. Kay Ramseyer
    Posted December 9, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    When I was a freshman in 1954-55, I walked to the Children’s Hospital each week to read to the patients. Little did I know that in 1970 my husband and I would bring our newborn son to the neonatal unit for care since he had suffered trauma when I had a severe abruptio placenta delivery. He died at the hospital. Our daughter later earned two degrees at Iowa and two grandsons will be freshmen next year. We had football season tickets for 23 years so know how special the new hospital is…no longer walking through steam tunnels to get from one building to the next. The change in philosophy is amazing and sorely needed and appreciated.

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