200 First St. S.W.
Rochester Minnesota 55905United States
Midwest Living Recommends
Tours offer insight into the history and legacy of medical breakthroughs at this, the nation's foremost medical center.
The facts and figures on this southeast Minnesota medical complex are impressive: It employs nearly 2,000 physicians and scientists, along with a staff of 28,000. It treats more than 300,000 patients a year, from more than 100 countries. It is the centerpiece of downtown Rochester, with 13 million square feet of medical facilities in some 30 buildings, a complex large enough to warrant its own ZIP code. But even more impressive is the legacy of this renowned facility. Mayo Clinic has generated numerous medical breakthroughs, including innovations in open-heart surgery, the use of lasers to treat brain tumors, the cure for tuberculosis and the first hip-replacement surgery. It may seem strange to tour a medical center, but Mayo is worth a visit. You'll get some interesting insights into the clinic's history and a peek at some lovely historic architecture. Take a free 90-minute guided tour, which includes an historical film and a walking tour of the campus, or an hour-long art and architecture tour. You also can take self-guided tours of a few of the buildings: Saint Marys Hospital offers history displays in the lobby; Heritage Hall has multi-media displays linking Mayo history to current activities; and the Gonda Building is the start of a self-guided art audio tour. (Ask for hand-held devices and maps at the information desk.) Most interesting is the showy Plummer Building, which contains the original offices of Drs. William and Charles Mayo, exhibits of early surgical instruments, fascinating old photos and some great ornate architecture--don't miss the gargoyles sneering from above.