Forest of Dreams

Photo: Cleveland Clinic Archives 

It began in the midst of World War I. Working together at Base Hospital No. 4 in Rouen, France, Cleveland Clinic founders Frank Bunts, MD, George Crile, MD, and William (Ed) Lower, MD, formulated the idea of returning to Cleveland after the war and setting up a group practice. They envisioned replicating the seamless collaboration among specialists that they experienced at the military hospital as they saw firsthand its significant advantage for patients.

At the opening celebration of their brainchild in 1921, Dr. Crile remarked, “If the founders may look into the future and see an institution carrying out these designs ... their ambition will have been fulfilled.”

Nearly a century later, Cleveland Clinic’s multi-specialty organization and Patients First culture continue to embody the founders’ early plans and dreams.


This photo, circa 1917-1918, depicts the scene where the seeds of Cleveland Clinic were sown. In the caption, George Crile, MD, wrote: “The Forest of Rouen – where Ed and I, then Bunts and I used to walk and dream dreams.” | Photo: Cleveland Clinic Archives 

Men in Car

Dr. Crile, left, and Frank Bunts, MD, in back of a Ford Model T at Base Hospital No. 4. | Photo: Cleveland Clinic Archives 

Base Drawing

Drawing of Base Hospital No. 4 by Caroline Armington. | Photo: Cleveland Clinic Archives