OHSU celebrates 125 years with new exhibit

By Bob Applegate

Marquam Hill in the early 1920s

Did you know:

  • OHSU was not the first medical school in Oregon? In fact what became OHSU was started 125 years ago by dissident faculty who left Willamette University School of Medicine.
  • The land OHSU sits on was originally going to be developed by a local shipping company until they figured out it sat on steep slopes. Instead, the company donated it to their company surgeon, who, incidentally, was also the dean of the University of Oregon Medical Department.
  • The precursor of today’s OHSU school of dentistry is not from Oregon at all, but from Tacoma, Washington.
  • OHSU was the site of the first Tinnitus clinic in the US.

All this and more can be learned from an exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society celebrating OHSU’s 125th anniversary – our quasquicenntenial.

The exhibit – OHSU: 125 years of Healing, Teaching and Discovery — opened March 14 and will run through July 8. It tells the story of how a small medical department grew into the OHSU we know today that encompasses hospitals, clinics, research, education and community outreach.
It also features fascinating objects from the last 125 years of medical practice including a collection of gallstones, teeth molds, scalpels, foot-powered dental drills and more.
You can learn more about the exhibit here; or preview the exhibit by reading this recent article from The Oregonian.


Bob Applegate is the associate director of community engagement at Oregon Health & Science University.