Four Cleveland physicians founded the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in February 1921, creating an institution dedicated not only to medical care, but also to research, innovation, and physician education. Three of the four founders had served together in a U.S. Army medical unit in France during World War I. The Cleveland Clinic Disaster of 1929 – a basement fire caused by combustible X-ray film that left 123 dead – was a tragedy that temporarily set back the hospital's progress. After World War II, however, the Cleveland Clinic rose to become one of the nation's leading medical centers.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Clinic researchers pioneered dialysis and kidney treatment and were the first to identify carpal tunnel syndrome and isolate the neurotransmitter serotonin. The Cleveland Clinic also emerged as a national leader in cardiac procedures. Clinic physicians performed the first coronary angiography in 1958 and continued to make significant advances in heart surgery techniques in the proceeding decades. The Clinic's main campus, located along Euclid Avenue in Cleveland's Fairfax neighborhood, has undergone tremendous growth since the 1970s. As adjacent land has been purchased and numerous new facilities constructed in a process of expansion, it is no great surprise that the Cleveland Clinic has become one of the city's largest private employers.


The Original Clinic Building Architect Malcolm Cutting discusses the beauty of the atrium at the old Cleveland Clinic Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
The Drury Mansion Architect Richard Van Petten reflects on the history of the Cleveland Clinic's Foundation House Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection


Clinic Building, ca. 1920s
Clinic Building, ca. 1920s One of the original Cleveland Clinic buildings near Euclid Avenue and East 93rd Street is shown here during the 1920s. During expansion in the 1940s, 7 floors were added to this building, which still stands today. Source: Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Original Clinic Site, 1887
Original Clinic Site, 1887 The site of the first Cleveland Clinic building at Euclid Avenue and East 93rd Street - not erected until 1921 - is shown here in 1887. Source: Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Aerial View, ca. 1940s
Aerial View, ca. 1940s An aerial view of Cleveland Clinic campus between Euclid and Carnegie Avenues, ca. 1940s. As the campus began expanding in the 1970s, many of the buildings seen in this picture, including many homes, were demolished. Today, the Cleveland Clinic campus dominates the landscape of the Fairfax neighborhood. Source: Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Dr. Alice Green
Dr. Alice Green Dr. Green was among the researchers who first isolated Serotonin at the Cleveland Clinic in 1948. Source: Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Cleveland Clinic Atrium, 1921
Cleveland Clinic Atrium, 1921 Source: Cleveland Clinic Foundation
"94 Dead In Blast"
"94 Dead In Blast" Cleveland News Headline, May 15th, 1929. The "Cleveland Clinic Disaster," as it came to be known, ultimately resulted in the death of 123 people. The fire is believed to have started when combustible x-ray film was ignited by the heat from an unguarded 100 watt light bulb. This unfortunate event led to the development of national fire safety and labeling regulations. Source: Cleveland Clinic Foundation
25,000th Goiter Surgery
25,000th Goiter Surgery Dr. George W. Crile and his team perform the 25,000th Goiter surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Goiter surgeries were a major source of revenue for the Clinic during its early history. Source: Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Clinic Rooftop, 1940s
Clinic Rooftop, 1940s Cleveland Clinic Rooftop Facing East, ca. 1940s. At this time, the sunny rooftop at the Clinic was often used to treat returning veterans who had been injured during World War II. Source: Cleveland Clinic Foundation


9500 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44195


CSU Center for Public History and Digital Humanities, “Cleveland Clinic,” Cleveland Historical, accessed May 27, 2024,