UPHS-Marquette and the Marquette Regional History Center collaborate to display History Wall at new facility

MARQUETTE — Through a collaboration with the Marquette Regional History Center, the new UPHS – Marquette facility features a unique history wall detailing the key events that made UPHS what it is today. The wall exhibit is next to the Bistro on Baraga in the main hallway of the hospital.

“We love for people to learn about the past and how it is connected to today,” said Cris Osier, the Executive Director at the Marquette Regional History Center. “It’s really beautiful. It shows how our community is able to innovate and make improvements to keep up with our everchanging health care environment.

“Yooper innovation is one of the big statement pieces in our exhibit gallery, and medicine is in that same category. UP Health System has worked hard to bring providers to our area, knowing our community deserves high-quality health care.”

The Marquette Regional History Center has materials detailing the hospital’s growth dating back to 1918. Marquette has a long history of providing health care for citizens that dates back to 1850 when Marquette was known for having “healthful air” for asthma tuberculosis, and hay fever patients. Osier notes that the abundance of information at the History Center made it difficult to condense the story of UPHS onto the history wall.

St. Luke’s Hospital from 1900-1921. 

UPHS got its start in Marquette as the Marquette City Hospital organized in July 1896 by Dr’s Northrop, Foster, Youngquist, Harkin, and Hornbogen. It quickly outgrew its 12-bed facility on 152. E Prospect Street and moved to a site on Front Street where the public library now stands. In 1897, the hospital moved to 123 W. Ridge Street and was named St. Luke’s Hospital.

Beth Gruber, a Research Librarian at the History Center, was one of the individuals tasked with researching material for the wall. For her, the most intriguing aspect of UPHS’ history came from its early beginnings when two separate hospitals, St. Luke’s and St. Mary’s, operated in this area before merging together.

“The hospital continued to grow and have a large impact on the community,” Gruber said. “When it started, they were just very small hospitals; St. Luke’s buildings were just homes that had been converted. They didn’t necessarily have all the amenities that you think of now. You’d have family members in there taking care of people, not necessarily nurses. Eventually, hospitals began taking on a bigger role in taking care of people.”

St. Mary’s Hospital in 1977.

The challenge of staffing hospitals is what drove the merger between St. Luke’s and St. Mary’s in 1973. This eliminated the duplication of practices and allowed the upgrading of the community’s medical services. Before numerous doctors would work at both facilities and it wouldn’t be uncommon for a provider to be on call at both. Following the merger, more doctors began to fill the area and the list of specialties offered at the hospital continued to grow.

“Before we only had a handful of doctors that treated the community and they didn’t have specialties,” Beth said. “You would just call a doctor. You wouldn’t ask for a cardiologist, for example. And it became more normal to go to the hospital to receive treatment. It wasn’t as common when hospitals started.”

An aerial view of Marquette General Hospital in 2000.

The history wall goes on to detail the transition to Marquette General Hospital and highlights the renovations and additions it underwent throughout the years, including the opening of the South Tower in 1979, which was an eight-story structure designed to hold 194 patient beds and included a new Emergency Room, Laboratory and Operating Room Suites. In 1992, the Robert C. Neldberg Building was completed, along with a parking ramp. The Neldberg building added three Cardiac Catherization labs, Outpatient Cardiac Unit, CCU, Rehabilitation Services, the Family Birthing Center, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and Behavioral Health Services. The wall also highlights the eventual acquisition by LifePoint Health, which led to the current UP Health System, and features the construction and opening of the new UPHS – Marquette hospital.

“It helps us appreciate what we have now,” Beth said of the wall’s place in the community. “It gives us a greater respect for the people who come before us.”

For more information about the history of UPHS – Marquette, visit the Marquette Regional History Center at 145 W. Spring St, or call 906-226-3571.

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