Pavilion Hospital - North University

Professors' House - First University Hospital

The idea of utilizing hospitals as centers of clinical training was well advanced in Europe, especially Germany and France. It had developed slowly in this country.

Although the desirability of actual bedside experience for the young physician was recognized, it was difficult to obtain such instruction except under the supervision of a preceptor – an actual practitioner with whom the young doctor served an apprenticeship as assistant.

Patients began to come to the University medical faculty for treatment. In 1868 the faculty reported that even though there were no hospital facilities available, over three hundred patients had come to the University for consultation and help.

In 1868 Dr. A. B Palmer, Professor of the Theory and Practice of Internal Medicine, headed a movement in the American Medical Association to obtain more clinical instruction in American medical schools. As a result of his efforts as well as of the increasing community demand in Ann Arbor for a hospital the faculty asked to be allowed to establish a hospital.
Alonzo Benjamin Palmer

In 1869, the east Professor’s House on North University became the first University Hospital. It had twenty beds. There were no operating or dressing rooms. It was merely a receiving home in which patients brought in for the clinics could be kept before and after presentation to the class.

“This makeshift hospital however was a significant beginning as it represented a most important landmark in the history of American medicine—the first instance of a university owning and controlling a hospital in connection with its own medical school.
”  Victor Vaughan '78m  (Michigan Alumnus, April, 1900, p. 279)

Since the clinical and surgery demonstration were held in the Medical Building, the patients would be transported across the campus to the Medical Building and back to the little hospital. (Alexander Winchell Papers.)

The original hospital, although inadequate, served its purpose by demonstrating that such an addition to the facilities of the Medical School was both desirable and practicable. Efforts to secure a legislative appropriation for a larger hospital resulted in 1875 in a grant of $8,000 for an enlarged University Hospital, contingent upon a contribution of $4,000 from the city of Ann Arbor. The Pavilion Hospital consisted of two frame pavilions, which extended from the rear of the original hospital. It was poorly ventilated and originally without an operating room. It was typical of the era and was, in fact, designed to last only five years and built so that it could be burned down if there was an infectious disease outbreak. It provided sixty beds, but in 1878 one-fifth of the beds were assigned to patients of the newly created homeopathic department.

At first the Hospital was open only six months of the year. In 1877 the legislature provided support permitting full-time operation. It was, however, closed for many summer periods during the succeeding two decades. In 1897 summer operation was made the condition of continuing legislative support for the Hospital.

In 1879 funds were granted for further expansion, as well as a new operating amphitheater, dining room and kitchen in connection with the matrons’ home. In 1881 an eye and ear ward was added, the first special ward to be erected as a separate building. The resident physicians, matrons, and private rooms for very sick patients occupied the original Hospital.

The University Main BuildingProfessors' House - First University Hospital

Pavilion Hospital
Pavilion Hospital
Pavilion Hospital with Amphitheater

Pavilion Hospital with Amphitheater

Floorplan for Pavilion Hospital with Amphitheater

Pavilion Hospital (left) Homeopathic Hospital (right)
North University Avenue

Dental College 1891-1908

In 1891 the University Hospital moved to its new Catherine Street building. During the summer the Pavilion Hospital building was renovated and prepared for the use of the Dental College. These new quarters proved satisfactory, and the College found itself able to provide “with ease” for the increasing number of students. The College of Dental Surgery had the distinction of being housed in three of the four original Professor’s Houses.