OSF St. Joseph Medical Center

Bloomington, Illinois


1880s - 1890s

A group of five Sisters and their leader, Mother M. Frances Krasse, journeyed to Bloomington, Illinois, from Peoria by horse-drawn wagon in February 1880 to establish a hospital for the sick and the poor. These Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis opened St. Joseph's Hospital, which received its first patient on March 22, 1880.

The Sisters purchased a little more than five acres of land with a two-story brick mansion on Jackson Street in west Bloomington. They began the first expansion in 1883, after quickly outgrowing the original building.

In 1895, an addition was completed including a modern steel and glass operating room, meant to ensure sanitary conditions.

The first chapel was added in 1899 and included stained glass windows honoring St. Xavier and St. Leonard donated by the family of Francis Xavier Wochner and Francis Leonard Wochner.


A new addition in 1921 included a fourth floor nursery, where a stuffed stork resided. The description of the building in The Pantagraph included sun parlors and spotless wards. They also noted that each floor had a telephone.

The first successful caesarean section, the first successful resection of the stomach, and the first successful blood transfusion in central Illinois were all performed in St. Joseph’s Hospital during the 1920s. according to Dr. J.H. Fenelon, medical staff physician.

St. Joseph's Hospital School of Nursing opened in 1921, and trained nurses until 1962.


Both the maternity ward and emergency department were modernized in the early 1940s, to accommodate the greater number of births in the county and also to create a new ambulance entrance.

In 1949, an emergency respirator, a "wooden" lung, was created by a group of employees from Eureka-Williams to save children with polio. They made the plans available free to any hospital or town that wanted to build one of their own.


The Marian Unit was constructed with 30 beds to care for children with cerebral palsy.


The medical center opened at its present location on East Washington Street in 1968. An expansion adding 22 rooms was almost immediately constructed, opening in 1970.


The first CT scanner was installed in 1983. A dedicated mammography unit was added in 1984, and MRI imaging in 1988.

The first cardiac catheterization laboratory in Bloomington-Normal opened in 1986.


OSF St. Joseph was the first hospital in McLean County to offer open heart surgery in 1990. The 1000th open heart surgery was performed in 1994.

The first PromptCare opened in Eastland Medical Plaza II in 1995.

The first OSF St. Joseph website was launched in 1998.


The Center for Advanced Medicine addition opened in 2004.

OSF St. Joseph hosts the areas' first public drug disposal program in 2008.

In December 2008, OSF St. Joseph became the first hospital in McLean County to achieve Magnet Recognition - the 18th in the state of Illinois.


The Ortho/Neuro Unit was expanded in 2010 to accommodate six additional patients in private rooms.

OSF St. Joseph Medical Center opened the new Birthing Center, including 12 labor/delivery/recovery/postpartum suites in 2011.

In 2018, OSF St. Joseph acquired the da Vinci Surgical System for minimally invasive surgeries, and the Mako Robotic-Assisted Technology for joint replacement surgeries.

The OSF Center for Health on St. Joseph Drive opened in 2019, including the relocated OSF PromptCare and occupational health services, Family Medicine, and all outpatient cardiovascular services.