If you live in Rochester, Minnesota you probably have some sort of connection to Mayo Clinic. You either work for the hospital or someone close to you does. Mayo is Rochester’s largest employer with over 40,000 people on the payroll. Or perhaps you’ve received care at the clinic. Mayo sees more than one million patients at its facilities each year.

Mayo Clinic has been named the Number 1 hospital in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. Below, you can read the history of the clinic and how it came to be the best in the nation.

Dr. William Worrall Mayo

William Worrall Mayo was born in England in 1819 and immigrated to the United States in 1846. Eight years later he settled in Rochester, Minnesota, and opened a private medical practice with a focus on helping Union soldiers during the Civil War.

Mayo had two sons, William and Charlie, who grew up in Rochester and joined their father’s private practice after attending medical school.

TSM Rochester
Townsquare Media Rochester-Preston

Tornado Devastates Rochester

A late summer storm destroyed nearly one-third of Rochester in 1883. The tornado killed 37 residents and left more than 200 with significant injuries. Dr. Mayo took action and immediately started offering medical care to the wounded. At this time, the Dr. realized he needed nurses to support his efforts so he contacted Mother Alfred Moes, the founder of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Rochester.

rochester mn tornado 1883
Tornado Damage in Rochester, MN August 1883 (Elmer & Tenney via National Weather Service)
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A Hospital Is Built

After the tragic tornado, the Sisters of St. Francis wanted to raise money to build a hospital in Rochester, but only on the condition that the doctor and his sons would agree to stay and provide medical care for residents.  A deal was made, and over the next three decades, the hospital would achieve respect and notoriety around the world for groundbreaking medical innovations.  In 1919, the Mayo Clinic was launched as a “not for profit” organization.

st marys hospital original mayo hospital rochester mn
St. Marys Hospital - Rochester, MN

What is Mayo Clinic Known For?

These days you’ll see experts from Mayo on TV discussing the pandemic, or you might read about a well-known celebrity visiting the clinic for treatment, but Mayo Clinic is really known for its contributions to the medical world.

Researchers at Mayo have made several important discoveries that have changed the way medicine is practiced around the world.

mayo clinic rochester mn
Mayo Clinic Gonda Building (Curt St. John/Townsquare Media Rochester-Preston)

Mayo Clinic's Contributions to Medicine

Mayo Clinic says their most important contribution isn’t a “device or drug” but rather the collaborative way their team works to serve patients.

 In 1905, Dr. Louis Wilson used the extreme cold of Minnesota winters to freeze cells. Which allowed doctors to “explore, diagnose and remove cancerous tissue all in one operation.”

In 1922, Dr. Russell Wilder changed the treatment of diabetes patients by setting proper dosage amounts while proving insulin was safe and effective.

Mayo Clinic photo
Mayo Clinic photo

In 1950, Drs. Edward Kendall and Philip Hench won a Nobel Peace Prize for their discovery of cortisone.

In 1955, the first heart bypass surgery was performed at Mayo Clinic.

In 1956, Mayo Clinic introduced the first post-op intensive care unit which allowed the patient to receive high-quality care after surgery.

In 1969, the first hip replacement surgery was performed at Mayo Clinic.

In 1973, the Mayo Clinic became the first hospital in North America to use a CT scan machine.

Mayo Clinic photo
Mayo Clinic photo

In 2001, Mayo researchers developed the first rapid test used to diagnose anthrax poisoning.

Today Mayo Clinic has campuses in Rochester, Minnesota; Jacksonville, Florida; and Phoenix, Arizona.

Keep scrolling to see a list of celebrities that have been treated at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

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Mayo Clinic phoenix, Arizona (Getty Images)
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Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, FL (Getty Images)

12 Celebrities Who Have Been Patients at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota

When you are one of the best hospitals in the world, you are going to attract some celebrities. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota has seen quite a few throughout its history.

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