Our history

In 1924, the visionaries who founded the Children’s Hospital of St. Paul already knew that children were special. They knew that kids weren’t just smaller versions of adults. They recognized that health care needed to be tailored to kids’ needs. Now, almost 100 years later, we agree: Kids aren’t smaller versions of ourselves. They’re bigger versions of ourselves: brave, resilient, optimistic and inspiring. In fact, they’re the most the most amazing people on earth.

Take a minute to learn about the history of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and how that history will influence our future.

1924: A hospital just for children

Walter Reeve Ramsey, MD, raises money to open Children’s Hospital of St. Paul. The first hospital, on the corner of Smith Avenue and Walnut Street in St. Paul, opens in 1924 and begins operating with 16 beds.

In 1928, the Children’s Hospital moves to a new building on Pleasant Avenue with the promise of free care for needy children. Children’s has 15 physicians on staff and the minimum daily rate for a hospital stay is $2.50.

In 1933, Junior League members incorporate the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA), responding to an appeal from Dr. Ramsey to make hospital care available to poor families during the Depression.

In 1953, a group of Junior League members and physicians incorporates the Children’s Hospital of Minneapolis and begins fundraising. The Children’s – Minneapolis Association emerges from the group of Junior League supporters.

In 1959, the Lang Wing of Children’s – St. Paul is dedicated in honor of Theodora H. Lang, the first woman president of the board of trustees. Mrs. Lang served on Children’s board for more than 60 years.

In 1967, Arnold Anderson, MD, is named medical director and chief executive officer of the Minneapolis children’s hospital even before it is built. In 1969, ground is finally broken on Chicago Avenue.

Children’s – Minneapolis opens its doors; Children’s – St. Paul gets a new home, too

In 1973, the “Minneapolis Children’s Health Center” opens as a modern, innovative model of family-centered care.

In 1979, Children’s – St. Paul also moves into a new building, on its current site on Smith Avenue.

St. Paul and Minneapolis children’s hospitals merge in 1994

In 1994, the Minneapolis Children’s Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of St. Paul merge, becoming the largest pediatric healthcare provider in the Upper Midwest.

During the 1990s, Children’s opens a center for outpatient surgery and pediatric rehabilitation services in Minnetonka known as Children’s – Minnetonka. Children’s – Roseville opens as a clinic for developmental and rehabilitation services. Children’s Clinics – Woodwinds also opens, offering rehabilitation and specialty clinics.

In 2007, Children’s embarks on a $300 million renovation and expansion, the largest in its history, to provide all private patient rooms and upgrades to our facilities and clinical areas.

In 2013, Children’s Minnesota becomes the only Level I pediatric trauma center, thanks to a $17.5 million gift from UnitedHealthcare. Also in 2013, The Mother Baby Center opens as a new four-story, 96,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that is a joint venture between Children’s Minnesota and Allina Health’s Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

In 2015, Children’s opens the Kiran Stordalen and Horst Rechelbacher Pediatric Pain, Palliative and Integrative Medicine Clinic

Today, our organization is known as Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. We are the seventh-largest children’s healthcare organization in the U.S., with 381 staffed beds at our two hospitals in St. Paul and Minneapolis. An independent, not-for-profit healthcare system, Children’s provides care through more than 13,000 inpatient visits and more than 314,000 emergency room and other outpatient visits every year. Children’s is the only Minnesota hospital system to provide comprehensive care exclusively to children. Children’s Minnesota is regularly ranked as one of the top pediatric hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Focus on innovation and excellence continues

Children’s Minnesota gains national recognition for its leadership in patient safety and clinical excellence:

  • In 2007, Children’s is named one of the top eight “exceptional U.S. children’s hospitals” by the Leapfrog Group, a national patient safety organization.
  • Children’s cystic fibrosis program ranks among the top 10 programs in the nation in the key health outcomes of lung function and nutrition
  • Children’s Minnesota treats more than two-thirds of all children with cancer in Minnesota and produces survival outcomes that are consistently superior to national averages.
  • Children’s pediatric cardiovascular program is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the region. Children’s mortality ratio is the second lowest in the nation among the top ten hospitals for cardiac surgery patients.
  • Children’s cares for 80 percent of the children ages 0 – 14 hospitalized for diabetes care in the eleven-county Twin Cities metro area.

Keep up with news from Children’s as it happens

Stay up-to-date with Children’s as our story continues.

  • Children’s in the news: Read our latest stories in the news and press releases.
  • Children’s stories: Read health tips from our experts and stories by patients, families and staff about kids’ health and their experiences at Children’s Minnesota.
  • Events calendar: Learn more about Children’s Minnesota events happening in the community.
  • Children’s Advocacy Network: When you join the Children’s Advocacy Network, you’ll get the latest information on policies that impact children’s health from the Children’s advocacy team.
  • Awards and recognition: Learn more about the awards and honors given to our organization, physicians, nurses and staff.

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