Our History

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 membership.
  • 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 building expansion.
  • 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 switchboard.
  • 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.