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Dr. B.J. Desai, radiologist (left), and Dr. P.W. Harrison, surgeon, study X-rays in the radiology laboratory of the expanded Worthington Clinic building in this June 1962 file photo. (Globe File Photo)

Worthington Clinic expands in 1962

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news Worthington, 56187
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- After not only enduring but thriving during the Great Depression, the future appeared bright for the Worthington Clinic facility.

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Following its expansion in 1938, the clinic would remain in its present form and continue to flourish up until 1962, when an office expansion was completed at a cost of $227,000. The front page of the June 8, 1962, Worthington Daily Globe heralded the improvements. "Worthington Clinic Sets Public Open House" trumpeted the headline.

There's not much text included in the story on the open house, but there are two pages inside the edition filled with photos. A photo on the paper's front page shows Dr. B.J. Desai, a radiologist, and Dr. P.W. Harrison, a surgeon, studying X-rays in the clinic's radiology laboratory.

"The Worthington Clinic building on 10th Street will be open to the public Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. for guided tours of offices, laboratories and other medical facilities," reads the text underneath the front-page photo. "Enlarged and completely remodeled, the Clinic building has been transformed and visitors in recent weeks have agreed that, 'You wouldn't know it was the same place.'"

Among the clinic photographs published in the June 8, 1962, edition are an exterior shot of the newly expanded and remodeled building; a reception desk in the new lobby with the caption "Mrs. Bernie Palmer Greets Public"; a shot stating the "lab features sealed, vented test booth"; an image of Edith Soderholm working with a "delicate new scale" with the caption headline "You Could Weigh an Insect Leg"; a photo of hallways with the caption headline "No Shadows, No Dark Halls or Corners"; an image of Dr. F.L. Schade working in the medical library; a directory of the clinic's medical specialists; and others.

Avera Medical Group Worthington's Dr. Greg Clark, who has compiled clinic history in advance of the new clinic building now open on Ryan's Road, has created a list of clinic doctors over the years and their areas of specialty. Segments of Clark's research are highlighted in a history wall that is part of the new facility.

"My friends at the historical society gave me advice, plus I've learned enough Worthington history that I think I can decide what I think are the most important Worthington landmarks and buildings," Clark said of the display, which reflects several aspects of the community besides the clinic.

One noteworthy component of that history is, unsurprisingly, what was originally known as Worthington Municipal Hospital, which opened in 1951. This new facility preceded by 12 years the demolition of the old Worthington Clinic Hospital building, a structure that was home to the clinic's original incarnation in 1918.

Several another noteworthy elements of the clinic's history are included in a timeline assembled by Clark. Among them:

- 1953: Nurses' home sold to city of Worthington for $14,500.

- 1970: Worthington Medical Center west wing expanded at a cost of $485,000.

- 1981: Worthington Medical Center west wing basement remodel completed.

- 1992: Worthington Medical Center west swing second-floor expansion completed at a cost of 1.2 million.

- 1993: Clinic renamed Worthington Specialty Clinics Professional Association.

- 1997: Worthington Speciality Clinics sold to McKennan Hospital on Dec. 29.

- 1998: Name changed to Worthington Specialty Clinics Avera Health in September.

- 2002: Worthington Clinic Office lower level pediatric remodel for $800,000.

- 2011: Name changed to Avera Medical Group Worthington.

While Clark is proud of the work he has done with historical research, he remains interesting in learning more.

"There are other medical historical questions I'd like to find the answers to," he said. "Now I'm interested in other medical history. For instance, no one can figure out when the iron lung came to Worthington, or where exactly did they start having polio balls here in Worthington? I plan to keep my research going."

Daily Globe Managing Editor Ryan McGaughey may be reached at 376-7320.

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