44.0219940, -92.4654757

44.0219940, -92.4654757 – 2019 – 18 x 24 – ink

44.0219940, -92.4654757 are the GPS coordinates of the Plummer Building in Rochester, Minnesota. This ornate Mayo Clinic building was built in 1928, adding much needed space to the ever-expanding medical practice. Researching the history of the location uncovered a lost Rochester. Older buildings razed in the spirit of modernization and expansion. Streets renamed to define a new post-war modernity. This map identifies the changes to a single city block over the past century.

Each medallion image captures a building on or around the current location of the Plummer Building and a woman who played a key role there. Descriptions begin from the top right corner and move counter-clockwise: 

Louise Abigail Mayo sits in front of the home that she and Doctor William Worrall Mayo lived in when they first moved to Rochester in 1864. Louise was not just a fierce supporter of her husband’s efforts to reduce human suffering through his medical practice, but was a successful business owner in her own right. She ran millinery shops in both Indiana before the couple settled in Rochester. In addition to raising a family and running a household, she assisted in her husband’s medical practice, from which she contracted an eye infection that lasted for seven years. Louise was a staunch advocate of education, and took in boarders to pay for her children’s tuition. 

Maud Mellish Wilson was hired as a librarian for the Mayos in 1907, bringing her background in nursing and medical library and editorial work. She ran the Mayo Medical Library, built in 1909 at the current site of the Plummer Building. The first floor contained a spacious reading room, also used for staff meetings and lectures, two smaller rooms used for editorial work and library administration. The second floor contained an art studio, used to create illustrations for medical journal articles. When the library was replaced by the Plummer Building in 1928, Maud was head of the publications division, which included the library, editorial staff, and the art studio. 

Daisy Berkman Plummer was Louise and William Mayo’s first grandchild. She was one of the first laboratory technicians, processing blood, sputum and urine samples. She left her job in 1904 when she married Dr. Henry Plummer. She is in front of the 1928 Plummer Building, built as the physical manifestation of the Mayo doctors desire to create the first integrated private group practice. It was the tallest building in Minnesota for a few years, until the construction of the Foshay Tower in Minneapolis. The Plummer Building is covered by intricate sculptural elements, such as the bronze doors whose pattern inspired the border of the drawing. 

In 1898, Doctor Gertrude Booker Granger was the first female physician to join the Mayo practice and second physician outside the Mayo family. She was also the first Mayo physician to specialize: she focused on eye care and had full responsibility for all eye exams and refractions. She also served as deputy director of Public Health for Rochester, Minnesota. She is standing outside the Masonic Building, the location of the Mayo Clinic from 1901 to 1914. Rochester’s Masonic Temple Association had wanted to construct a new building and arranged to finance it by leasing the lower floor to the Mayos for ten years. 

By 1912, the Mayos’ practice had grown out of the Masonic Temple space and construction began on a new building known as the 1914 or Red Brick building. It was built on the site of Louise and William’s first Rochester home. The four-and-a half-story building was made of dark red Pennsylvania brick with cream Missouri stone trim. It held various laboratories, exam rooms, research and clinical departments, a pharmacy, and a library and editorial department. In front of the 1914 Building is Doctor Leda Stacy, who was the third woman physician brought into the Mayo practice. Dr. Stacy received a medical degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois, in 1905 and completed an internship at Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, one of only four hospitals in the U.S. that accepted women at the time. She returned to Rochester, where she had a private practice for a year before joining the Mayo Clinic staff in 1908. Dr. Stacy was a pioneer in radiotherapy and the first head of a newly organized Section on Gynecology in the Division of Medicine at Mayo Clinic.

Credit to sources: 

Wright-Peterson, Virginia. Women of Mayo Clinic: The Founding Generation. Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2016.

Hahn, Amy Jo. Lost Rochester, Minnesota.  The History Press, 2017.