Published on December 07, 2017

History Wall

Genesis History Wall Recognizes 148 Years of Healthcare

DAVENPORT, Iowa – Dec. 7, 2017 – On the 148th anniversary of the opening of the first hospital in Iowa, Genesis Health System unveiled a history wall today made possible by the mission-focused care of thousands of people over the years.

Genesis has been gathering artifacts for nearly three years to put on display when the $150 million surgical and patient tower was opened at Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme Street. The tower opened in May.

“Genesis and the organizations it grew from have a fascinating history that we wanted to share with everyone who visits and with our employees,’’ said Doug Cropper, president and CEO, Genesis Health System.  “The history wall tells a story of who we are and how we got here.  We are extremely proud of our history.

“Even at our beginning, compassionate, quality health services were provided by the Sisters of Mercy.’’

The first patient of the Sisters of Mercy on Dec. 7, 1869 was a pregnant woman who had been abandoned.

One of the interesting historical notes was the development of two hospitals – Mercy and St. Luke’s – less than two miles apart.

“The thought in the 1800’s was that Mercy was too far from downtown Davenport and this was causing harm to patients. So, St. Luke’s was built. For about 100 more years until 1994 when Genesis was formed the hospitals competed in every way,’’ Cropper said. “They both had birth centers, cardiac care, right down the line. Today it is clear it was unnecessary.  This realization prompted the merger in 1994.  

“But it still took a long time for everyone involved to merge the two hospitals into a single system … Genesis.’’

Andy Burman, senior communications specialist, was curator and manager of the history project. Silver Oaks of Davenport designed the wall and Edwards Creative of Davenport built the display.

“This is the first time since the consolidation of Mercy and St. Luke’s in 1994 that Genesis has worked to combine its history,’’ Burman said.  “A major hurdle we had to overcome in the process of the project was finding the history that was stored across the health system and archiving it in a way where we could determine what Genesis had. There were hundreds of historical items literally all over the health system and some community members also donated artifacts.’’

Burman said some of his favorite pieces that did make the wall include the hand-written Mercy Hospital Patient Registration Book (c. 1870-1892) and a Physician’s Travel Bag with Medicines (c. 1900).  There are also interesting historical artifacts that aren’t in the wall.

“My goal for the History Wall was to help the community understand the value Genesis has presented to the community over the years,’’ Burman said. “It’s easy to forget that health care was not always present in our area.’’

Genesis History Wall By the Numbers

Wall length – 67’ (Long wall 43’, Short Wall 24’)
Pillar Length – 33’
Total Length – 100’
Total Height of Pillars and Walls – 8.5’ – 10’
Timeline Height – 2’
Timeline Images – 76
Total Number of Artifacts – 14
Background Graphic Wall Images – 39

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