1836 The City of Cleveland is founded.
May 6, 1837 Cleveland City Council designated an infirmary as City Hospital and made provisions for the inhabitants' medical care. Its patients were the chronically ill, aged, mentally impaired, and the poor. City Hospital was located where East 14th Street meets Sumner Avenue, site of the Erie Street Cemetery.
1855 By 1855, the hospital outgrew its original location and moved to the Brooklyn Township Poorfarm on Scranton Road. It was commonly called the City Infirmary.
1863 Dr. J. H. Marshall instituted a means of transporting patients to the hospital by "covered vehicle." He believed the use of open express wagons had been spreading contagion, and endangering the lives of patients sent over the land in inclement weather. The horse-drawn wagon marked the beginning of the hospital's ambulance service. Continuing well into the 20th century, City Hospital provided the latest ambulance models, from horse-and-carriage to automobile.
1877 Construction begins on a new City Hospital.
1889 The City Hospital building on Scranton Road was replaced. It featured modern accommodations and mirrored the most recent advancements of medical science. City Hospital aspired to provide the most sophisticated care medicine could offer, a tradition that continues today. A seemingly minor, though immeasurably significant upgrade to the hospital involved bedding. Straw had been used for the original hospital beds. The new hospital featured hair mattresses. In fact, feather pillows, brass-mounted iron bedsteads, and steam heat were precious innovations at the new City Hospital.
1890s City Hospital became the first hospital in Cleveland to conduct a systematic study of pathological anatomy and autopsy.
1891 A group of 28 physicians and surgeons formed the first medical staff at City Hospital. They served without pay. In return for their work, they asked only for the privilege of using City Hospital as a training ground for medical students.
1899 One of the most troubling health problems of the 19th and early 20th centuries was the high infant and child mortality rate. In 1899, a new Children's Hospital was built on the City Hospital grounds. The entrance faced Valentine Avenue and the cost was $35,565.
1901 Rev. Harris Reid Cooley, Director of Charities and Correction, wrote to Cleveland Mayor Tom Johnson: "There is a feeling that many of the aged, bowed down by the cares and toil of years, deserve something better in their declining days." He suggested the establishment of a farm colony of cottages, 10 or 12 miles from the city. This land also accommodated the relocation of the Tuberculosis Hospital and the City Infirmary from Scranton Road. It later became known as Sunny Acres. As TB was conquered, the center changed its focus. The facility was completely renovated, creating a model complex for its new mission: long-term skilled nursing care. Today, the facility is known as the MetroHealth Center for Skilled Nursing Care in Highland Hills.
1909 A new City Infirmary was constructed at Cooley Farms in Warrensville Township to house the chronically ill and disabled.
1914 Formal affiliation between MetroHealth and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine is forged, combining research with education and creating a firm basis for modern medical science.
1916 City Hospital was the only hospital in the nation to devote an entire ward to the study of pharmacology.
1920s Forerunner to today's community health centers was the East 35th Street Dispensary, established in the 1920s. Serving residents of Cleveland's east side, the dispensary provided outpatient care to children, primarily from nearby neighborhoods. The dispensary building, leased to the City of Cleveland by Western Reserve University, also housed City Health Station No. 2 — one of the maternal health clinics of the university — and the well-baby clinic. This was the only subdivision of the City Hospital Outpatient Department not located on the grounds at Scranton Road.
1926 For many years, beginning in 1926, the ambulances were driven by Joseph Seaman and Joseph Sawyer. Popularly known as "Big Joe" and "Little Joe," they managed stretcher cases with great attention to the patients' comfort.
1932 A 169-bed hospital was added to the Warrensville Township location and renamed the City Infirmary and Chronic Hospital. By the mid-20th century, the hospital was transferred to county ownership and became Highland View Hospital, a rehabilitation facility for the disabled.
1939 MetroHealth's very first emergency department, the Colahan Memorial Pavilion at City Hospital, was built out of the philanthropic vision of John Colahan, a wealthy real estate owner on Cleveland's west side. Before he died in 1911, Colahan saw the need for a hospital dedicated to the care of industrial accident victims in Cleveland's Flats. He ordered that some of his land be sold after his wife's death to build that vision and, after some litigation, $80,000 of Colahan's estate was contributed to the Pavilion that bore his name next to the City Hospital Administration Building. According to The Cleveland News, May 1, 1939, it was the realization of the "dream" of the philanthropist to "admit accident cases exclusively and be equipped to offer immediate treatment of emergency injuries."
1952 Dr. Robbins, a winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, joined City Hospital as Director of Pediatrics and Contagious Diseases.
1953 Highland View's rehabilitation facility philosophy evolved from the caretaking of the chronically ill to restoring patients to independent living. In 1953, it was one of six such institutions in the country, and became nationally known for its programs.
1954 The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis designated City Hospital as a National Respiratory Care Center, the third largest of 13 polio centers in the country. At the peak of the polio epidemic, 32 iron lungs were in operation, helping patients to survive. And, the physicians at City Hospital were among the first in the nation to prescribe physical therapy for polio patients to help maintain movement and muscle tone and aid in the recovery of paralyzed limbs
1955 Dr. Fredrick C. Robbins, professor of Pediatrics and Contagious Diseases, asked Emma N. Plank to join the Department of Pediatrics at City Hospital to address the educational, social, and psychological needs of children receiving long-term care. Plank was an assistant professor of Child Development in the Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, at Western Reserve University. She founded the Child Life and Education program at City Hospital and served as its director until 1972. In doing so, Plank started the first formal university-affiliated Child Life and Education program in the United States. Her philosophy was "when a child is hospitalized, the hospital has to take on tasks beyond its healing function, tasks which must be accomplished so the rhythm of life and growth can go on."
1958 City Hospital became a county hospital and was renamed Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital. Its new status allowed it to seek the financial support of taxpayers through a series of levies. The funds permitted the hospital to expand in both size and scope.
1960 Miss Bell Greve and Mayor Anthony Celebrezze turned the first shovel of dirt at the groundbreaking of the Bell Greve Outpatient Building, which was dedicated in 1960.
1970 A nationally renowned Burn Center is opened, providing up-to-date, specialized care to critically burned patients.
1976 The Kenneth W. Clement Center for Family Health Care opened. Named for Dr. Clement — physician, teacher, and civil rights worker — the facility absorbed the operations of the East 35th Street Clinic run by the hospital since 1925. Located on East 79th Street in the inner city, Clement Center provided family medical serviced to patients in their own neighborhood. From 1989 until its closing in 2004, the facility was known as MetroHealth Clement Center for Family Care and embodied MetroHealth's commitment to community health. In recognition of Dr. Clement's untiring effort to create a better life for everyone, the Kenneth W. Clement, MD, Conference Center was dedicated on April 24, 2006, at the MetroHealth Broadway Health Center, one of MetroHealth's nine community health centers.
1978 To improve efficiency of services and reduce costs, Highland View merged with Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital and moved to the Scranton Road campus. Today, it is the MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio.
1979 The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) opens.
1982 The first Metro Life Flight operations begin. In 2009, Life Flight flew more than 2,200 transports.
1989 The Cuyahoga County Hospital System became The MetroHealth System. Its new name was chosen to emphasize all the facilities, programs, and services contained within one health care system.
2005 A ribbon-cutting ceremony marks the first phase completion of MetroHealth Old Brooklyn Campus, formerly Deaconess Hospital.