City on a hill: A history of urban health care in Milwaukee
In 1863, a small group of Lutheran deaconesses converted a farmhouse on a hill into a hospital for the poor. It grew, became a major urban hospital, then faced financial struggles that led to its closure in 1998. Milwaukee Hospital’s history mirrors that of health care in the United States over the past century and a half. Small organizations dedicated to the poor expanded into massive health care systems that behaved more like businesses than charities. Institutions in poor neighborhoods often could not survive.
1884-1902: Early expansion
1903-1923: Emphasizing expertise
1992-1998: Issues lead to shut-down