Our history makes us who we are today. That’s why it’s important to remember it—and learn from it. Central Illinois’ history is rich and vast, and UnityPoint Health – Methodist | Proctor is proud to be part of it. As I reflect on our history, I’m inspired by the incredible achievements our medical community has made. That inspiration motivates me to continue this journey we’re on together.
UnityPoint Health – Proctor was established when three local physicians wanted to provide central Illinois with a cutting-edge new technique: antiseptic surgery. That’s what drove three doctors to establish Cottage Hospital in 1882 in a 15-room house. John C. Proctor spearheaded the formation of a nonprofit organization to guide the hospital, and led the charge for expansion in 1893 when a new brick wing was added to the original structure. The hospital soon outgrew that expansion, so a new building with 150 beds was built and dedicated in 1902.
When Proctor died in 1907, Cottage Hospital was renamed John C. Proctor Hospital. In 1954, a study urged that a new hospital be built in northwest Peoria, where the population was shifting. In 1959, the new Proctor Community Hospital was dedicated at 5409 N. Knoxville Avenue.
Proctor earned a reputation for being the first to advance many significant new medical technologies and procedures. In addition to being the site of Peoria’s first antiseptic surgery, Proctor was the first hospital with all-private rooms, the first and only with a hospital-based addiction recovery program, the first with an Intensive Care Unit and the first non-denominational community hospital.
UnityPoint Health – Methodist was born from the dream and determination of a young deaconess in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Seeing a need in the community for greater access to healthcare, Minna Riggs worked to raise money and support, and in May of 1900, the Deaconess Home and Hospital opened at 221 NE Glen Oak Avenue. It was incredibly successful, and in 1917, a new building opened, and the Deaconess Home changed its name to the Methodist Hospital of Central Illinois. The new hospital contained “every known convenience of the modern hospital,” according to The History of Peoria County.
In 1953, Methodist completed a major expansion with the dedication of its Glen Oak Wing, which the local paper called a “modern medical wonderland.” The new wing amazed the community with “luxury” features like air conditioning and gleaming tile walls. Methodist thrived over the next several decades, earning a reputation for serving patients with the most advanced medical technologies, like the cineradiograph, or “moving x-ray,” which created short movies of patients performing various actions, such as swallowing. Methodist also acquired the first downstate cobalt unit, providing modern, high-energy radiation therapy.
In 1970, Methodist announced a new program to develop family medicine specialists, and in 1971, it signed an agreement with the University of Illinois’ Peoria School of Medicine and other local hospitals to create a new school of medicine, now known as the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.
Both Methodist’s and Proctor’s histories took different, yet similar courses, which eventually led to an important intersection. In 2011, Methodist affiliated with what was then called the Iowa Health System. In 2013, it became UnityPoint Health – Methodist. In November of 2013, Methodist and Proctor joined forces, becoming UnityPoint Health – Methodist | Proctor.
Now one organization, UnityPoint Health – Methodist | Proctor is writing a new chapter in its history. We are fortunate to be building on the incredible legacies of these institutions. As we move forward together, the achievements of those who came before us serve as a guiding light as we build our future. iBi