100 Years of Healthcare in the Illinois Valley
Illinois Valley Community Hospital’s origins date back over 100 years.
The hospital has undergone staggering changes in the last 100 years, and
we are proud to highlight some of the most significant moments for you
here. Read through our timeline to learn more about healthcare history
in the Illinois Valley.
1887: Three sisters of the Franciscan Order of the Sacred Heart found LaSalle’s
St. Mary’s Hospital, one of IVCH’s predecessors.
1907: Citizens gather for the first meeting of the Peru Hospital Association,
with a mission of building an up-to-date hospital to serve the area. Fundraising
won’t begin until 1910 and includes creative efforts such as concerts
by Maud Powell, Peru’s celebrated violinist.
1911: The Illinois Secretary of State officially grants the Peru Hospital Association
charter as a non-profit institution.
1913: Peoples Hospital Women’s Auxiliary forms, the same year ground breaks
for construction on the new hospital.
1914: The new and modern four-story 40-bed Peoples Hospital formally opens. Total
community investment: $90,000.
1924: Modernization is happening everywhere, from the first televised pictures
of objects in motion to St. Mary’s Hospital breaking ground on a
major building addition that will expand and modernize the facility.
1927: St. Mary’s christens another new building addition in 1927, the same
year Lindbergh made the first nonstop transatlantic flight. His celebratory
82-city flight routes him right over the area, where he flies low to dip
wings and salute close friends in LaSalle County.
1937: Peoples Hospital joins the American Hospital Association. Seventy-five
years later the hospital, now known as IVCH, is recognized for its continuous
1938: The hospital modernizes the entire top floor, completely upgrading and
rebuilding all operating rooms to create one of the area’s most
state-of-the-art medical facilities to date.
1940: Construction begins on the Northeast Wing, which will add 12 rooms to
the original 40, expanding capacity to 52 rooms.
1941: As FDR is laying the groundwork for what will become the United Nations,
Peoples Hospital School of Nursing closes its doors after 27 years of service.
1942: Ongoing modernization efforts continue in the kitchen, which is enlarged
and greatly improved with the latest design and equipment.
1943: Peoples Hospital is a cornerstone of the community, regularly reaching
out through parades, festivals and other events.
1947: Jackie Robinson makes history with the Brooklyn Dodgers, as St. Mary’s
Hospital continues its historic growth pace by breaking ground on another
1954: As the community’s needs grow, the hospital expands accordingly,
this time adding a Southeast Wing featuring 20 new double rooms, plus
a new pharmacy, director's room, business offices, parking lot and
1957: Reproductive rights are in the news nationwide, and the modernization
and expansion of the “Maternity Section” takes total capacity
to 110 rooms. The Northeast Wing now offers a state-of-the-art OB unit
complete with 8 patient rooms, two delivery rooms, sterilizing and formula
rooms and a nursery.
1958: Citizens Hospital Council forms to discuss the growth of Peoples Hospital.
With annual admissions up from 569 in 1931 to well over 2,000 today, they
credit higher birth rates, insurance policy popularity, longer life spans
and public recognition of health care availability.
1961: Extensive renovations add the latest medical advancements including
a new x-ray technology and lab equipment, two modern operating rooms, a recovery
room and urology room, plus the climate-controlled wonder of air conditioning.
1964: With more than 200 employees and a payroll of nearly a half million dollars,
the hospital embarks on a major enhancement to its service offering, including
expanding the Emergency Room, adding 10 patient rooms and two physical
therapy rooms, and building a cafeteria, dining room and soda fountain.
1967: The State Healthcare Planning Commission determines that a single new hospital
would provide better health care than the three existing hospitals (Peoples,
Peru; St. Mary’s, LaSalle; St. Margaret’s, Spring Valley).
1969: More than 300 employees now serve more than 3,600 patients every year.
The level of care continues to exceed expectations, bolstered by the addition
of a modernized recovery room and a sterile central supply room added
in this year alone.
1973: New state-of-the-art intermediate and critical care units expand the horizon
for care when you need it most. Advanced technology includes cardiac monitoring.
1974: Our smallest patients get a big jump in resources with the opening of
a 14 bed pediatric unit. Peoples Hospital now holds accredited status,
with a bed capacity of 113.
1975: It’s a year of premieres, as Saturday Night Live airs for the first
time and Illinois Valley Community Hospital makes its debut through the
merger of Peoples Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital.
1979: Extraordinary care takes on new meaning with the dedication of a new four-floor,
80-bed wing — a major expansion with a 35 bed nursing unit, intensive
care unit, 29 patient rooms, three operating rooms and more.
1987: Members of the IVCH Volunteer Escort Service, better known as the Red Coats,
make their first trips, and each step makes a difference for every patient at IVCH.
1989: The newly-organized IVCH Foundation hosts its first benefit ball, which
develops into its major annual fundraiser.
1992: Caregivers find relief, and adults who can’t be alone find a home
away from home at Illinois Valley Adult Day Center, an IVCH affiliate.
1994: Convenience and care come together once again with the construction of
our skybridge and parking garage. The medical building expands care and
services with a second-story addition.
1996: In a year of centennial milestones, the U.S. hosts the 100th Olympic Games
in Atlanta, and the Hygienic Institute brings 100 years of family care
experience to the IVCH family.
1998: In a momentous move, the Hygienic Institute leaves the LaSalle building,
which it had occupied since 1914, for a modern new location on North Chartres Street.
2000: Generations of women see their care experience expand even further as IVCH
opens the Women’s Health Care Center.
2003: A whole new era of care is ushered in as the East Addition opens, including
the largest emergency department in the Illinois Valley with 10 exam rooms
and larger surgery and day surgery units.
2004: Cancer warriors get a new weapon for their arsenal as the patient-focused
Special Procedures Unit opens.
2006: IVCH hits the trifecta of restoration, rehab and recovery with the Center
for Physical Rehabilitation and Aquatics. Located next to the Illinois
Valley Y, the rehab center is the area’s largest and most modern.
2007: Continuing our mission of healing at home, the IVCH Oglesby Medical Clinic opens.
2011: The final phase of the landmark East Addition opens, with a state-of-the-art
intensive care unit and a new OB unit featuring the most progressive technologies
and techniques, including the option of water birth.
2012: Better than a yellow brick road, the path to 100 years of community values
and extraordinary values is colored with progress — you can see
it in our artists’ rendering, with every hue a growth milestone.
2013: The Valley’s only provider of hyperbaric oxygen treatment opens.
The IVCH Wound and Hyperbaric Center brings hope, healing and relief to
patients with hard-to-heal wounds.
2014: IVCH celebrates 100 years of turning ordinary into extraordinary.