Timeline of Events

1836 The City of Cleveland was 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 The hospital outgrew its original location and moved to the Brooklyn Township Poor Farm on Scranton Road. It was commonly called the City Infirmary.

Horse Ambulance1863 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 began on a new City Hospital.

City Hospital Patient1889 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.

Children TB1899 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.



Cooley1901 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. The facility became known as the MetroHealth Center for Skilled Nursing Care in Highland Hills.

Cooley Farms1909 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 was 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.

Health Station1920s The East 35th Street Dispensary, a forerunner to today's community health centers, was established. 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.



Ambulance1926 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.

Colhan ER1939 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."

Research1952 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 was opened, providing up-to-date, specialized care to critically burned patients.

Clement Family1976 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 services 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. It became known as The MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio.

1979 The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) opened.

1982 The first Metro Life Flight operations began.

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 marked the first phase completion of MetroHealth Old Brooklyn Campus, formerly Deaconess Hospital. In 2013, it became the home of The MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio.

2007 MetroHealth opened the Pride Clinic, the first in the region devoted to serving the health needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

2010 The Northern Ohio Trauma System (NOTS), a collaboration between MetroHealth, the Cleveland Clinic and regional public safety forces ensured that trauma patients got to the right place for their care. Under NOTS, the most serious trauma patients are treated at MetroHealth, Cuyahoga County's only verified Level I Adult Trauma Center. Data released in 2013 demonstrated that NOTS saved more than 640 lives.
2013 MetroHealth physicians began delivering health care at schools, during the school day, through a partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The Medical Home for Children in Foster Care, a partnership with the Cuyahoga County Center for Families and Children, was formed to provide health care for all children in foster care.

2014 With the extension of MetroHealth’s Medicaid Waiver program through April, health coverage was provided for a total of 28,000 previously uninsured and under-insured community members.

2015 MetroHealth announces Campus Transformation. A multi-year plan, it is a clinical, operational and physical transformation of The MetroHealth System. The former Northcoast Behavioral Center building is demolished. Construction begins on Critical Care Pavilion.

2016 The two-story addition to the Clinical Care Pavilion was completed with 85 state-of-the-art Intensive Care Units and a Special Disease Care Unit for highly contagious diseases. The Brecksville Health & Surgery Center, a new LEED Certified 63,000 square-foot facility, opened to provide primary care, specialty care and 24/7 emergency services in southern Cuyahoga County. Cleveland Heights and Parma also saw the opening of freestanding 24/7 Emergency Departments to serve residents east and west of MetroHealth's main campus. And MetroHealth opened the Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, believed to be the only school inside a hospital.  

2017 MetroHealth completes sale of $946 million in hospital revenue bonds to fund Campus Transformation. Construction began on new 1,500-space parking garage (site of former Northcoast Behavioral building).    
2018 Site plan for new campus completed and the design of the new hospital is unveiled. Construction of employee parking garage is completed and demolition of Southpoint parking garage begins. 

2019 MetroHealth broke ground on a new 11-floor hospital on West 25th Street, the centerpiece of its $1 billion main campus transformation. The first class of seniors graduated from the Lincoln-West School of Science & Health with every graduate accepted to college. And MetroHealth announced the creation of its Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership and Empowerment) to focus on connecting community members with fresh food, stable housing, education, career training and other services that prevent illness.
2020 MetroHealth’s quick but expansive response to the COVID-19 pandemic included the creation of a COVID hotline that handles more than 66,000 calls; conducting more than 80,000 tests at houses of worship, group homes, homeless shelters and other locations; and the implementation of a COVID-response plan at the Cuyahoga County Jail that ensured no inmate died of the virus. The year ended with the announcement of a $42 million donation from JoAnn and Bob Glick, the largest in MetroHealth’s history. Construction of employee parking garage is completed and demolition of Southpoint parking garage begins.    
2021 MetroHealth opened its Ohio City Family Dentistry clinic and began construction of Via Sana, a 72-unit affordable housing development near its main campus, and a 110-bed behavioral health and addiction hospital in Cleveland Heights. The system’s COVID response continued with the opening of vaccination sites in East Cleveland, Maple Heights and the state’s largest homeless shelter. And the health system launched a residency track focused on primary care for the underserved.