History of the Campuses and Buildings of the University of Rochester
United States Hotel Prince Street Campus Eastman School of Music Medical Center River Campus Mid-Campus South Campus Mt. Hope Campus Graduate, Family and Veteran Housing Central Utilities Other Off-Site Buildings
Medical Center

University of Rochester Medical Center, looking north.

Aerial Photos of the Medical Center, note that some dates may be approximate
1925 1927 1930 1930 August 4, 1931 1933 November 1933 1934 1935 1941 1943 1949 1950 January 1951 1951
1957 December 1961 1962 1968 1974 1974 1992 1995 2008 2008 2010 2014 2016 2018

In early 1920, Abraham Flexner, working for John D. Rockefeller's General Education Board, approached President Rush Rhees to discuss the creation of a new medical school in Rochester as had been outlined in his 1910 report on Medical Education in the United States and Canada. Rhees introduced him to George Eastman, who was very receptive to the idea as along as the new institution would be property funded.  Agreement between the University, Eastman and Rockefeller was soon reached, with Rockefeller providing $5 million and Eastman $4 million.  The two daughters of Henry Alvah Strong provided $1 million towards the cost of a new hospital, which was named after their parents. 

Rhees traveled to California in an attempt to convince George H. Whipple to become dean of the new School of Medicine and Dentistry, which after some negotiation proved successful.  Whipple moved to Rochester and joined in the discussions about the location of the new Medical School, which was coupled with a desire to secure an adjacent parcel for a new and larger College for Men.  The University Trustees in late 1921 approved a plan to locate the school on a large tract between Elmwood Avenue and the Barge Canal while the nearby Oak Hill Golf Course would become a new campus for the College for Men.

The University purchased 97 acres of land in late 1922 and early 1923 between Elmwood Avenue (then unpaved) and the Barge Canal and from the Lehigh Valley Railroad on the west almost to Mt. Hope Avenue on the east.  The two larger parcels were owned by the Ellwanger and Barry Realty Company and the Boughton Estate.  A third large parcel, the former Warrant Farm, was owned by J. Warrant Castleman (UR 1889) and had been subdivided into 391 separate building lots in June 1916.  Only six of these lots were sold before Castleman died of blood poisoning from a minor injury in January 1920.  The subdivision passed to his wife Augusta and sister Clara Boughton Husband, who sold it to the University in December 1922 after another three lots had been sold.  Although the subdivision was on the South Avenue railway line that also served the Genesee Valley Park, the lots were likely unattractive due to the lack of water and sewer infrastructure in the Town of Brighton.

"Advertisement for 391 Building Lots in the Castleton Subdivision," from Democrat and Chronicle, May 28, 1916, page 31. Future Medical Center property in 1918, from Plat book of the city of Rochester, N.Y. and vicinity (1918). Plate 34

The City annexed this land and the surrounding area on April 7, 1922 and had earlier approached the University about co-locating their proposed new Municipal Hospital adjacent to the University's new hospital.  In April 1923 the City and University signed an agreement to staff the new Municipal Hospital and to sell 26.5 acres on the east end of the property $39,789.  The City also agreed to reroute Elmwood Avenue through a new railroad underpass and build a new bridge over Elmwood Avenue.   

Property purchased in 1922 and 1923 for the new Medical School and Hospital, outlined in red, Plat book of the City of Rochester, N.Y. (1924) Plate 37
Property sold to the City in 1923 for a new Municipal Hospital, outlined in blue.  The City sold the hospital and property back to the University in 1963 for the same price they had paid for the property.

By the early 1960s it was recognized that additional hospital space was required.  Initial planning focused on a smaller building on the west end of the Medical Center, but the City had decided to get out of the hospital business and in 1963 the City sold the Rochester Memorial Hospital (X&Y Wings) and the associated 24-acre parcel to the University for $39,789, the same price the City had paid for the land in 1923. This acquisition allowed the new hospital to be built on the east end of the Medical Center and new research buildings to be located on the west end.

1963 Medical Center Property Map
1986 Plan with Old and New Names
Medical Center Building Dates

Additional property along Mount Hope Avenue was later purchased and developed as College Town, including a large parking structure for Medical Center employees.

Buildings | Medical Center and Mid Campus Map (January 17, 2019) |
1922 | Animal House | Medical Library |

1925 | School of Medicine and Dentistry | Helen Wood Hall | Staff House |

1926 | Strong Memorial Hospital | Rochester Municipal Hospital |

1929 Staff House Addition

1933 Athletic Center

1941  Q Wing (8100)

1943 Medical Center Annex

1944 Helen Wood Hall Addition

1948 R Wing (9000)

1950 O & P Wings (5500 5700)

1954 W Wing (4300)

1955 Supplies & Accounts Building (4900)

1957 Fifth floor of R Wing added

1958 P Wing infill

1959 Radiation Center (6600)

1961 Third floor added to south wing of Medical Center Annex.

1962 | U Wing (5000) | Miner Library Expansion |

1963 Second Animal House

1966 OO Wing (6800)

1967 GG Wing (6500-6900)

1969 | R North (9200) | Electric substation (G-4999) |

1971 S Wing (7400-8800)

1972 Goler House

1975 New Strong Memorial Hospital

1978 Eastman Dental Center

1980 Cancer Center (3000)

1982 R Wing Connector (G-8090)

1985 Alastair J. Gillies Anesthesiology Library (6-5436)

1986 Two floors added to Cancer Center

1987 Miner Library Expansion

1990 Floors added to R North

1995 Parking Garage

1996 Ambulatory Care Facility and Wolk Pavilion, including infill of SMH 3-1200 to 3-1400

1998 | Child Care Center | Autoclave (G-4807) |

1999 Kornberg Medical Research Building

2001 Emergency Department

2002 Del Monte Research Institute (MRBX)

2003 G-5200 infill

2004 | Parking Garage Expansion | Emergency Department vertical expansion |

2004 Floor added to Cancer Center building for Flaum Eye Institute

2006 Loretta C. Ford Education Wing (Helen Wood Hall)

2007 New electric substation (B-5797)

2008 Wilmot Cancer Center

2011 Saunders Research Building (CTSB)

2012 Wilmot Cancer Center Vertical Expansion

2015 Golisano Children's Hospital

2016 Meliora Milestones: A Campus Transformed
Timeline and map of construction projects

2022 Loretta C. Ford Education Wing expansion

2023 Emergency Department Expansion and New Patient Care Tower

References | Also see Disease, Medicine, and Public Health |
1904 "East-Side Line to Valley Park," Democrat and Chronicle, March 10, 1904, page 10.
Trolley Cars to be Run to Lehigh Railway Tracks at a Point Opposite Park Refrectory.

1904 Deed from John Warrant Castleman to the Rochester Railway Company, May 10, 1904, $1.00, book 688, page 173
Property for railroad to Genesee Park

1910 Medical education in the United States and Canada; a report to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching by Abraham Flexner
Pages 180-181:  Chapter XIV The Medical Education of the Negro

1916 Castleton subdivision created by John Warrant Castleman.

1920 Report of the President of the University of Rochester, June 1, 1920.Pages 12-14:  About four months ago it was brought to my attention that competent judges of the needs of medical education in the United States were of the opinion that our city offers a very desirable location for a medical school of the highest order. This idea caused me great surprise. It was not the first time that the possibility of a medical school connected with the University had been suggested to me. reply had always been: Medical education is the costliest form of professional training, and The University of Rochester is not interested in undertaking such work without resources sufficient to make that work unquestionably of the first class. I had no idea that Rochester could command adequate resources. Furthermore, I had the opinion that the trouble with medical education in this country was not that it had too few medical schools, but too many.
This opinion was derived from a remarkable study of medical education in the United States and Canada made by Dr. Abraham Flexner, and published in 1910. On consulting him about the proposal I found him to be of the opinion that there is ample room for another medical school of the highest order and that Rochester presents in many ways an ideal location for such a school; and in the further development of the project he has given invaluable counsel and encouragement. The value of such counsel and encouragement can be best appreciated by those who know the unique position he has attained as one of the best informed men on the present condition and needs of medical education throughout the world.
When the project was brought to the attention of our farsighted and marvelously generous friend, Mr. George Eastman, he recognized at once the possibility of accomplishing something great, not only for medical education in general, but also for the good of Rochester as a community, because of the stimulus and assistance which such a school will inevitably give to the practice of medicine in our city and the work of our hospitals and of all the agencies working for the public health.
This advantage is readily apparent from the fact that an essential feature of the equipment will be a teaching hospital of about 250 beds, owned by the University and supported by a special endowment, which will help supply the need for increased hospital facilities in our city.
Furthermore the scientific laboratories for anatomy, physiology and pathology devoted not only to instruction in those subjects but to research for the advancement of knowledge in those sciences, will put Rochester and its medical and dental professions and hospitals in the most favored class in the matter of dealing with problems of public health.
Early in the consideration of this matter, Mr. Eastman saw that if co-operation with the Rochester Dental Dispensary could be secured, that great institution, by enlarging its scope to provide for treatment of adults in addition to its work for children, and on much the same basis, would furnish clinical facilities for dental education of the same order as that proposed for medicine; and the project was enlarged so as to combine with the projected school for physicians and surgeons a dental school of the highest standard.
The project could not be considered at all, however, except on the basis of large resources. It is with wonder, as well as with pride and gratitude, that I welcome the privilege given to me of announcing that in addition to the effective co-operation of the Rochester Dental Dispensary, which with its endowment of $1,000,000, represents a gift by Mr. Eastman of $1,500,000, he has agreed to give the University of Rochester $4,000,000 for this great enterprise, and that the General Education Board, which dispenses Mr. John D. Rockefeller's gifts for education, has agreed to contribute $5,000,000.
The princely sum made available by these magnificent gifts will enable The University of Rochester to establish its new school on a firm basis and with the very highest standards. It is a noble challenge to us to be worthy of such a trust. It calls upon us to see to it that the college, which is the foundation on which alone such advanced professional education can be built, is maintained in ever-increasing strength. I have no doubt that our friends will welcome the opportunity as need arises to enable us to respond to that call.

1920 "J. Warrant Castleman Dies of Blood Poisoning, Result of Christmas Day Mishap," Democrat and Chronicle, January 2, 1920, Page 23.
UR 1889, president of the UR Alumni Association 1917 and 1918, prominent local lawyer and judge, owned 70 acre farm south of Elmwood Avenue adjacent to the Lehigh Valley Railroad.

1920 "Gift of $9,000,000 to University by Eastman and Rockefeller for School of Medicine Announced," Democrat and Chronicle, June 12, 1920, Page 1. | Part 2 | Part 3 |

1920 "Hope to Receive Students at Medical College of University of Rochester in Fall of 1922," Democrat and Chronicle, July 9, 1920, Page 16.

1921 "To Make Trip in Interest of New Medical School," Democrat and Chronicle, January 4, 1921, Page 16.

1921 "Oak Hill Site Is Approved by University Trustees," Democrat and Chronicle, November 6, 1921, Page 1. | Part 2 |
Present Plan Would Place College For Men on Country Club Site and Medical School on Elmwood Avenue.

1921 "Co-operation in University Plan in Urged," Democrat and Chronicle, December 14, 1921, Page 26.
Building of Hospital; Subway under railroads.

1922 "An act to amend chapter seven hundred and fifty-five of the laws of nineteen hundred and seven, entitled 'An act constituting the charter of the city of Rochester,' generally," Accepted by the City, April 6, 1922.
Describes the land annexed by the city.

1922 "Rail Engineers Aid in Planning Traffic Subway," Democrat and Chronicle, August 24, 1922, Page 16.
Propose to replace Elmwood crossing with one 400 feet south.

1922 Deed from  Augusta W. Castleman to the University of Rochester, September 27, 1922, book 1194, page 184.
Castleton lot 164

1922 Deed from Clara B. Husband to the University of Rochester, December 30, 1922, book 1193, page 146
Castleton subdivision excepting lots 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 161, 163, 164, 169, 170.

1922 Deed from J. Warrant Castleman to the University of Rochester, December 30, 1922, book 1193, page 148
Castleton subdivision excepting lots 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 161, 163, 164, 169, 170.

1923 Deed from Ellwanger & Barry Realty Co. to the University of Rochester, January 4, 1923, book 1200, page 157

1923 Deed from Elizabeth Boughton, et al. to the University of Rochester, April 28, 1923, $1.00, book 1214, page 162.

1928 "South and Part of North Wall Up for Bridge to Eliminate Elmwood Avenue Grade Crossing," Democrat and Chronicle, August 25, 1928, Page 12

1934 "Nobel Prize Shared by Dr. Whipple," Democrat and Chronicle, October 26, 1934, Page 1 | Part 2 |
In his work here he had the assistance of Mrs. Frieda S. Robbins, physiologist.

1934 "Mr. Pile Driver Gets in First Blow for New Bridge," Democrat and Chronicle, November 10, 1934, Page 11

1936 The First Decade 1926-1936  

1941 Deed from the University of Rochester to the City of Rochester, March 27, 1941, book 1765, page 513. 

1943 "Woman Gets Medical Degree With 59 Men at U. of R. Rites," Democrat and Chronicle, December 19, 1943, Page 2B.
Edwin A. Robinson, first Black graduate of School of Medicine and Dentistry

1950 The First Quarter Century 1925-1950   

1960 Abraham Flexner: an autobiography
A revision, brought up to date, of the author's I Remember, published in 1940

1961 "UR buys Market for Records Use," Democrat and Chronicle, November 15, 1961, Page 19. | Part 2 |
The University of Rochester yesterday purchased an old supermarket at 1510 Mt. Hope Ave. for $55,000 for use as a laboratory and records annex to the school's medical center.
The property was sold to the university by Hart's Food Stores. Inc., 175 Humboldt St., which owned and operated the Star Market the structure formerly housed. The market now occupies a neighboring structure.
LaRoy B. Thompson, vice president and treasurer, reported last night that the university purchased the property to relieve congestion at the medical center, which does not have adequate floor space for some of the services connected with patient care.
He specifically mentioned chemical tests connected with diagnosis and therapy, said much of the newly acquired property would be used as a clinical chemistry laboratory. The rest of the structure, he said, will be used to store older records of patients and older X-rays to free space in the medical center itself, which is about 300 yards away.
The sale was a cash transaction, according to Frank J. Goodwin, attorney for the buyer, and Murry Beckerman, attorney for the seller.

1963 Deed from the City of Rochester to the University of Rochester, July 24, 1963, $39,789, book 3495, page 133.
Rochester Municipal Hospital building and 24.03 acres.

1963 "Medical Center at UR Given $3.1 Million Aid," Democrat and Chronicle, October 12, 1963, Page 23.

1963 "UR Medical Center Plans $50 Million Expansion," Democrat and Chronicle, November 12, 1963, Page 1. | Part 2 |

1963 Master plan for University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, by Thomas Farr Ellerbe

1965 "$60 Million Tabbed for Center," Democrat and Chronicle, January 26, 1965, Page 1B.

1965 "$80 Million Expansion Projected by U. of R.," Democrat and Chronicle, April 30, 1965, Page 1. | Part 2 |

1966 "Tomorrow On The Campus," Democrat and Chronicle, September 25, 1966, Page 1M. | Part 2 |
New Hospital

1972 "Doctor of Medicine," Democrat and Chronicle, June 5, 1972, Page 6B.
Ruby L. Belton, first Black female graduate of School of Medicine and Dentistry

1972 "Black Medical Pioneer Dies," Democrat and Chronicle, July 31, 1972, Page B1.
Edwin A. Robinson, first Black graduate of School of Medicine and Dentistry

1974 Rochester's Era of Annexations 1901-1926, by Joseph W. Barnes
Pages 224-277:  Chapter VI:  The end of an era: 1922-1926

1975 To each his farthest star:  The University of Rochester Medical Center -1925-1975, edited by Edward C. Atwater and John Romano.

1975 Fifty Years of Medicine at Rochester, edited by Edward C. Atwater and John Romano,  Pictorial companion to the above book.

1977 History of the University of Rochester, 1850-1962, by Arthur J. May.  Expanded edition with notes
Chapter 20, Shaping the Medical Center
Chapter 28:  Music and Medicine in the 1930's
Chapter 31:  Women, Music and Medicine in Wartime

1983 "Net Aids Medical Center's Search for Grants," Computerworld 17(30):30 (July 25, 1983)

1987 Flexner: 75 Years Later : a Current Commentary on Medical Education, by Charles Vevier

2000 The University of Rochester Medical Center: teaching, discovering, caring : seventy-five years of achievement, 1925-2000, edited by Jules Cohen and Robert W. Joynt

2002 Iconoclast : Abraham Flexner and a life in learning, by Thomas Neville Bonner

2016 Fifty Years of Neurology History

2020 A Pathway to Excellence: The First 100 Years of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, 1921-2020, by Bruce R. Smoller

URMC Historical Photographs 

2021-2022 Morris A. Pierce