By the late 1880s a new hospital became a critical need for the University of Michigan. The medical course had been lengthened to four years, the requirements for graduation had increased, and additional clinical courses were added.
In 1889 the legislature appropriated $50,000 for a new hospital unit to consist of two buildings, one to be used for the Homeopathic Department of Medicine, and one for the Allopathy Medical School. The city of Ann Arbor also contributed $25,000. The two buildings provided 104 beds, forty for the Homeopathic College and sixty-four for the Medical School. The Allopathy Hospital was opened in 1891.
In 1900 after the construction of the new Homeopathic Hospital on North University and Washtenaw Avenue, the Catherine Street Homeopathic Hospital was taken over by the Allopathy Hospital and became the Medical Ward, while the other building (original Allopathy Hospital) became the Surgical Ward. A long narrow passageway was built to connect these two buildings, crossing the Palmer Ward and the nurses’ residence between them. From this passageway various subsidiary buildings extended which was designed for use as a bakery, an office for social service, and a housekeeper’s room.
The building had two wards as well as a few private rooms. The demand in the hospital soon became so great that extra beds had to be provided.
An amphitheater was included in the Hospital, “a small pit from the center of which arose a steep central aisle with rows of uncomfortable wooden benches on either side.” Operations and demonstrations were carried on before the students.
The Catherine Street Hospitals eventually included a group of some twenty buildings, large and small. These buildings were successively enlarged and added to until the completion of University Hospital in 1925. Many of these buildings were then used as convalescent wards and as other adjuncts to the Hospital.
1891-1900 University Hospital
1900-1925 Surgical Ward
1925-1944 East Convalescent Ward
1944-1950 Rapid Treatment Center
1950 Institute for Social Research