The following are just some high
points in the development of Park Nicollet Medical Center.
The whole story is in the book Managing Change, Changing
Medicine, by James R. Hare, Jr. (1996). There is also an
account in "An Historical Review of Park Nicollet Medical
Center" in the Park Nicollet Medical Foundation "The
Bulletin," Vol. 33, No. 2, 1989 (on file at the SLP
Historical Society). That account was written by one
of the original doctors, Dr. Robert A. Green. Also see the
clinic’s web site.
ALL THE WAY OUT THERE??
In 1949, Nick Phillips had contemplated
building a medical center at his site at the
Shopping Center, and
Surgeon Richard J. Webber jumped at the chance to start a
medical practice in the suburbs, but the deal fell through.
On June 28, 1950, the Dispatch announced the
beginning of the St. Louis Park Medical Center.
Morten Arneson agreed to
give a group of (then)10 doctors a 99-year lease for the western portion
of his three-acre nursery, including a 100-ft. frontage on
Excelsior Blvd. The project was started by a group of WWII Veterans,
who had all been working at the Veterans Hospital, each
with a different specialty. The Dispatch reported that they were all married, all
trained at the U of M, were between the ages of 30 and 34,
and had a total of 25 children.
The original doctors
Sewell S. Gordon
Arnold S. Anderson
George W. Lund
pooled their Veterans' benefits in order to obtain a
construction loan, and the first building of the St. Louis
Center was built at 4959/4961 Excelsior Blvd. It was
designed by Long and Thorshov, and cost $100,000 - plus
$50,000 for equipment. The building originally had no
air conditioning. On July 2, 1951, the St. Louis Park
Medical Center opened for business, seeing five patients and
Original building of the St. Louis Park Medical Center
In 1953, Arneson closed his nursery and moved to Edina. He
offered to sell his remaining Excelsior Blvd. property to
the clinic, but they declined, so he built a grocery store
on the rest of the site at 4951 Excelsior Blvd., on the
corner of Excelsior and Quentin.
By 1956, the Center had 17 doctors and added a $100,000
addition to the original building. The first doctor to
come after the original 11 was Dr. Al Schultz. The
next was Dr. William Fifer in 1956, followed by Dr. Cushing.
In 1960, the St. Louis Park Medical Center Research
Foundation was formed to promote medical research and
In 1961, there were 24 doctors on staff; the total staff of
100 served an average 300 patients a day.
FROM TRASH TO TREASURE
The Center required more and more room as the practice
expanded, and in June 1966, it was authorized to purchase
the six-acre site of the Beltline Pay Dump, across Excelsior Blvd. The new
building was designed by architects Setter, Leach & Lindstom,
Inc. It was first constructed with five stories and a
shelled-in sixth. Construction by the Knutson Const.
Co. began in September 1967. The move to the new
building was completed on December 15, 1968. The Northland Building, now
known as the 3800 building, was dedicated on January 18,
1969. It eventually grew to
seven floors, the tallest building at the time in St. Louis
Park. Its original address was 5000 W. 39th Street.
Northland Building, 1969 (courtesy Park Nicollet)
In 1977, an adjacent structure, the Arneson Pavilion, was
dedicated to Morton and Katheren Arneson. It was originally
two stories, located just north of the Northland Building. This is now known
as the 3850 Building.
On August 2, 1983, the St. Louis Park Medical Center merged
with the Nicollet Clinic to form the Park Nicollet Medical
Center. The Nicollet Clinic had started in 1921, also by
doctors from the University of Minnesota Medical School. The
Clinic was originally located at Nicollet Avenue and 11th
Street, then at the corner of Franklin and Blaisdell.
On October 12, 1983, a groundbreaking was held for a five
story addition to the Arneson Pavilion. Park Nicollet
originally wanted to build a new building on the site, but
the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency required long term
remediation to prevent hazardous compounds from going into
surface and groundwater, so they built up instead of out.
The new North Tower was dedicated on September 7, 1985.
On September 22, 1993, ground was broken for two new
buildings that were part of the Tower Place redevelopment
effort that replaced Lilac Way. A two-story building
was built for primary care (now the 3850 building) and a
five-story building houses surgery and opthamology (the 3900
building). The grand opening of these new facilities
was held on April 25, 1995.
2004 Photo courtesy Emory Anderson
The original site of the St. Louis Park Medical Center was demolished and rebuilt.
The new building (shown below in 2000) houses a bank and dental office, among others, and
is owned by the owners of Miracle Mile.
Also see article in