Rochester, home of Mayo Clinic

By Tim Lesmeister
mayo-clinic-logoThere are many things to do and see in Rochester, Minn., and the surrounding area, but when you mention the name of this city people always hit you with, “Isn’t that where the Mayo Clinic is?”
The Mayo Clinic began with William Worrall (W.W.) Mayo who immigrated to the United States from England and ended up in Rochester around 1863.  Mayo had been named examining surgeon for the Union Army in southern Minnesota and made Rochester home where he practiced medicine until he died in 1911.
It was W.W. Mayo’s sons, William J. and Charles H. Mayo, who were the original Mayo Clinic team.  In fact, the term Mayo Clinic did not originate within the clinic, but rather came from the medical profession. Initially, the Mayo brothers included each partner’s name in their firm’s title.  Physicians who came to Rochester to see the Mayos operate frequently referred to their destination as “the Mayo Brothers’ Clinic” or “Mayos’ Clinic.” The railroads and patients quickly made these shorter references popular. However, the partnership name remained until the 1914 Building was erected, and establishment of Mayo’s educational program and foundation made the name “Mayo Clinic” correct.
As time passed, the Mayo brothers added top researchers to their program because they believed  the combined wisdom of one’s peers is greater than any individual, a standard followed today.
The group practice of medicine evolved naturally as physicians, medical professionals and administrators worked together to solve practical problems. The Mayos believed in collaboration and provided the resources and time required to foster what was then a revolutionary way to practice medicine.
Today, the Mayo Clinic is viewed as one of the finest medical institutions in the world with patients coming from all parts of the globe.  While in Rochester for the OWAA conference, June 10-13, 2010, make it a point to visit some of the buildings that house the Mayo facilities.  There is rich history in those walls.
Tim Lesmeister chairs the Local Committee for OWAA’s 2010 conference in Rochester, Minn., June 10-13, 2010. Lesmeister is a full-time freelance outdoor communicator and photographer. Contact him at

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