Campus History

Gen: 1852–1967

Care for the Most Vulnerable

In the earliest days of MRMC, Milwaukee County's founding leaders came together to provide care for the most vulnerable in our region. This early care extended beyond orphans and widows. It meant care for all those in need. This unity and compassion gave birth to the development of one of Wisconsin's first and most comprehensive health care centers.

It all began with the purchase of a 160-acre farm and eventually grew to the 1,200-acre County Grounds.

The Gregg farmhouse served as the first poor house in 1852. An almshouse was built to serve a larger number of people with a variety of needs.

In the 19th century, horse-drawn ambulance carried patients to the hospital.
The original 1860 Milwaukee County Hospital burned down in 1880 and was rebuilt later that year. The 1880 county hospital is pictured here.

By 1908, a general hospital facility was up and running. Here, nurses care for patients in a ward at the Milwaukee County Hospital.

Children were the immediate focus, and care for them included a children's home. Young orphans are pictured playing on the lawn in the early 1900s.
The beautiful grounds included a pond and a park-like atmosphere.
The development of antiseptic operating theaters led to an increase in surgery during the late 1800s to the early 1900s.

In 1930 a 650-bed Milwaukee County General Hospital opened, an important move that signalled a new era for health care in Milwaukee and beyond.

Continue to Second Generation 1968–2017 →