News

From the Archives: Cleveland Clinic reopens after disaster

Author: Employee Communications/Friday, May 20, 2016

On Monday, May 20, 1929, more than 300 patients visited Cleveland Clinic. On any other day this might not be remarkable. But just five days before, nitrocellulose X-ray films in the basement had combusted, sending poisonous gas through the building. One hundred and twenty-three people died, including Cleveland Clinic co-founder John Phillips, MD. Devastating though the Disaster (as it came to be known) was, the staff and caregivers remained steadfastly committed to the ideals of Cleveland Clinic.

As a city, Cleveland felt the same way. Founder George Crile, MD, wrote that “it was the belief of the public in the Cleveland Clinic … that made it possible to go on.” More than $30,000 in gifts, plus countless letters of condolence, poured in from around the world. A group of 36 Cleveland businessmen formed a committee to rebuild Cleveland Clinic. 

The explosion had rendered the building unusable. In another example of community generosity, the headmistress of Laurel School donated a former dormitory for our use. Operations remained there until September, when they moved into parts of the new Research Building and the just-completed addition to the hospital. Just a few days after the Disaster, the Cleveland News published an editorial: “A Greater Clinic to Rise From Disaster Ruins.” Thanks to determination and hard work from both Cleveland Clinic caregivers and the Cleveland community, the News’ prediction came true. 

For more information, contact Cleveland Clinic Archives at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 216.448.2929.

Centennial Legacy Society
Visionary ($20,000 or more)
Dr. Leonard and Mrs. Marie Calabrese
Dr. John P. MacLaurin
Dr. Susan Rehm
Founder ($10,000 - $19.999)
Dr. Lee and Mrs. Marlene Adler
Dr. Janos Bacsanyi
Dr. Joanne Ceimo
Drs. Zeyd and Lilian Ebrahim
Dr. Pauline C. Kwok
Drs. Justin and Erin Juliano
Drs. Walter* and Isabella Laude*
Dr. Andrew and Mrs. Vivien Liu
Dr. Thomas and Mrs. Janet Rice
Dr. Conrad C. Simpfendorfer and Mrs. Patricia V. Simpfendorfer
 
Member ($5,000-$9,999)
Dr. Julie Adams
Dr. Kenneth Barngrover
Dr. Edwin and Mrs. Beverly Beven
Dr. Azmy* and Mrs. Ida Boutros
Dr. Johan J. Bredée
"In honor of the Cleveland Clinic and my CCF-teachers for their perpetual inspiration"
Dr. Ravi Chittajallu
Dr. Philip Cusumano
Dr. Gary H. Dworkin
"In honor of the Dworkin Family"
Drs. Toribio and Susan Flores
Dr. Fetnat Fouad-Tarazi
Dr. Raghav Govindarajan
Dr. Mark K. Grove
Dr. Kuniaki Hayashi
Dr. Robert and Mrs. Pauline Hermann
Dr. Norman and Mrs. Maryanne Hertzer
Drs. Octavian and Adriana Ioachimescu
Dr. Leonard and Mrs. Susan Krajewski
Dr. Robert and Mrs. Brenda Kunkel
Dr. Albert C. Lammert
"In memory of Patricia Karnosh Lammert"

Drs. Rande and Linda Lazar, and Lauren, Sophie and Charlie/JT

Dr. Marc and Mrs. Cynthia Levin
Dr. James W. Lewis
Dr. Thomas and Mrs. Jill Maatman
Dr. Paul and Mrs. Barbara MacGregor
"In memory of Dr. Ralph Straffon and Dr. Augie Zabbo"
Drs. George and Lourdes Mathew
Dr. Eric and Mrs. Letty Muñoz
"In honor of Jose Ozuna Muñoz"
Mrs. Paula Ockner and Dr. Stephen Ockner*
Dr. Thomas and Mrs. Christina Petinga
Dr. Louis G. Prevosti
Dr. Michael Puff
Dr. Jeffrey H. Rudell
Dr. Rochelle Rosian and Mr. Jon Straffon
Drs. Susan Fox and Conrad H. Simpfendorfer
Dr. Divya Singh-Behl
"In honor of Surinder Bahl"
Dr. Riaz A. Tarar
Dr. Sanjiv Tewari
Dr. Jin and Mrs. Tammy Wang
Dr. Daniel and Mrs. Donna Marie Wilson
Dr. Jess Young 
Drs. Belinda Yen-Lieberman and James M. Lieberman
 
2016 Donors
Anonymous 
"In memory of Dr. William P. Steffee"
Dr. Maher Abbas
Dr. Steven Ballas
Dr. Kevin Blaine
Dr. Patrick Blake
Dr. A. Broennle
Dr. Reginald Bulkley
Dr. Alida Gertz
Dr. James Geyer
Dr. Thomas Haverbush
Dr. S. Ihsanullah
Dr. Halifax King
Dr. Christopher Knight
Dr. Paul Krummen
Dr. Earl Shirey
Dr. Timothy Walsh
Dr. Rao Watson
Dr. James Weller
Dr. William White
Huerter Family Fund
Thua Vinh M.D. Inc
Tri City Neurology Associates, LTD