Breaking Ground Since 1857

Cook County Hospital’s history is impressive. Opened in 1857, it had a brief stint as an army hospital during the Civil War, and then went on to become known as one of the greatest teaching hospitals in the world. In 1866, it founded the first medical internship in the country, attracting thousands of world class medical professionals who came to see the innovations happening there—including the world’s first blood bank and the first surgical fixation of a fracture.

In 1916, the Old Cook County Hospital building we know today was built. Designed by architect Paul Gerhardt, it featured a Beaux Arts façade, fluted columns, and decorative flourishes like lions and cherubs. The building has been unoccupied since 2002, when Cook County Hospital moved to its current location, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Perhaps most notably of all, the hospital was known throughout its history as a beacon of compassion, opening its doors to immigrants, poor patients, and others who couldn’t afford medical care elsewhere.


The first Cook County hospital opens


Cook County forms the first medical internship


Cook County as we know it is built


Cook County creates the first blood bank


ER, a medical drama loosely based on Cook County Hospital, debuts


Cook County Hospital moves to its new building, leaving the former location abandoned


Renovations begin on the Old Cook County Hospital to transform it into a part of Harrison Square


Read our blog to learn more about how we’re still making history today