Children's History :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Our History

Nationwide Children’s Hospital has been caring for sick and injured children and adolescents for 120 years. There has been a vast amount of change since the hospital was founded in 1892. In its first year, 70 patients were treated by a six-member staff and seven other employees.

"What we are trying to do here, all of us who work for The Children’s Hospital, quite simply is to be kind and generous to little children who are in need of help." – Dr. Leslie L. Bigelow, chief of medical staff, 1915-1940

Today, Nationwide Children’s is the primary pediatric health care provider for 37 counties, with more than 1,100 medical staff members and 9,200 employees who provide expert care to children regardless of ability to pay. Learn more about our history by clicking the links below.


1894 The hospital opens for the admission of patients with nine beds, and quickly grows to 15.
1910 An outpatient department, unheard of before then, is established.
1914 World War I begins. Several Columbus physicians receive Armed Forces Commissions, leaving a heavy burden on those remaining.
1918 The Hospital closes three times during the year due to scarlet fever, diphtheria and measles.
1923 Cornerstone for the new hospital is laid.
1924 The new Children’s Hospital opens. It accommodates 75 children, with the capability of expanding to 150 immediately and eventually to 300.
1951 Another building fund drive kicks off.
1954 Construction begins on the Sellers Wing, a physical therapy building located north of the hospital. The wing will be used for polio patients.
1960 The A wing, which adds 159 patient rooms, opens.
1965 Federal grant monies open C&Y (Children & Youth) Clinics throughout Columbus. Eventually the grant monies dwindle, but Children’s continues funding these centers, which grow and become the Close To HomeSM network of today.
1966 Surgeons at Children’s perform central Ohio’s first successful kidney transplant, on an 11-year-old boy.
1966 A new infant intensive care service opens, specializing in the care of the seriously ill infant and operating independently of the regular intensive care unit.
1968 The A wing receives an addition of a sixth floor, to be used as an isolation facility for children with communicable diseases.
1983 Approval is given for construction of a new surgical wing to also house a new kitchen and cafeteria.
1985 Surgical addition opens.
1999 Children’s and OhioHealth announce relationship to operate Neonatal Special and Intensive Care units at OhioHealth Central Ohio hospitals (Doctors Hospital West, Grant Medical Center and Riverside Methodist Hospital).
2000 Children’s Hospital Orthopedic Center on Parsons Avenue opens.
2001 Brand new NICU/PICU and Hematology/Oncology units open on the J floor.
2002 Children’s implements a computer order entry system designed to reduce the risk of medication errors and the possibility of harm to our patients.
2003 Construction begins on Children’s new $80-million, 160,000-square-foot clinical expansion, scheduled for completion in 2005. In addition, Children’s begins renovating 100,000 square feet of existing space.
2004 Children’s becomes the first freestanding children’s hospital in Ohio to receive “Magnet Recognition” – the highest honor for excellence in nursing.

First in the world Hybrid Cardiac Catheterization Suites dedicated to congenital heart disease opened.
2005 Children's performs its 1st Lung Transplant
2006 A "Domino" and double lung transplant is performed at Children's involving the world's youngest living heart donor.

International Symposium On the Hybrid Approach to Congenital Heart Disease (ISHAC) began
First in the world Congenital Hybrid Cardiac Operating Suite opened.
Columbus Children’s Hospital is renamed Nationwide Children’s Hospital

2008 Nationwide Children’s breaks ground for a new 12-story main hospital building and opens a new four-story clinical and research expansion


1961 The first medical science research building at Children’s Hospital, Ross Hall, is completed.
1966 Research expenditures at Children’s exceed $1 million for the first time.
1987 The new Wexner Center for Pediatric Research opens.
1997 The top two floors of the Wexner Institute for Pediatric Research open, doubling research space.
1999 Children's Hospital Research Foundation is renamed Columbus Children's Research Institute (CCRI).
2000 The development of CCRI Centers of Emphasis is announced.
2003 CCRI begins human testing phase for a new HIV/AIDS vaccine.
2003 CCRI finishes the year with $34 million in external research awards.
2004 Children’s new, 160,000-square-foot research building opens.


Children's receives an unprecedented $50 Million commitment from the Nationwide Foundation.

2007 CCRI is renamed The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
2008 A partnership between The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s receives a $34 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to create a center to develop clinical and translational protocols that help identify and advance treatments for patients.


1931 Hospital begins taking private patients for $4 per week.
1931 Pediatric residency program begins.
1932 The hospital’s bed capacity is 100 with an occupancy rate of 97 percent.
1937 All the teaching of pediatrics is moved from the Starling Loving Hospital at OSU to Children’s Hospital.
1943 Dr. Earl H. Baxter, a practicing pediatrician, became the first chairman of The Ohio State University Department of Pediatrics, which was housed at Children’s Hospital.
1953 Pediatric Pathology residency program begins.
1954 Pediatric Dentistry residency program begins.
1964 Dr. Bruce Graham is named Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at OSU and Medical Director of the hospital – the first to combine these two positions.
1978 Dr. Grant Morrow III is named Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at OSU and Medical Director of Children’s Hospital.
1983 Internal Medicine-Pediatrics residency program begins.
1984 Neonatology fellowship program begins.
1985 Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship program begins.
1990 Ground is broken for the $18.3 million Education Building.
1992 Education Center opens.
1995 Dr. Thomas N. Hansen is named Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at OSU and Medical Director of the Hospital.
1999 The Department of Pediatrics is awarded the prestigious Ohio State University Departmental Teaching Excellence Award.
1999 In recognition of her enormous support of Children’s Hospital, the Education Building is renamed the Ann Isaly Wolfe Education Building.
2003 Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University’s Department of Internal Medicine open the South High Close To HomeSM Physician Care Center, a joint internal medicine/pediatrics clinic to provide health care services to adults and children.
2003 New residencies begin in Pediatric Nephrology, Pediatric Ophthalmology, and Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
2003 Children’s advocates work with Congress to maintain full funding for children’s hospitals’ graduate medical education (GME), which brought more than $8 million to Children’s in 2003.
2004 A new residency in Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery begins.



In a partnership with the Dispatch Group, Children's begins Pediatric Health Source- an educational public service program consisting of monthly announcements on televison, radio and in print.
2006 Nationwide Children's hosts the inaugural International Symposium on the Hybrid Approach to Congenital Heart Disease (ISHAC). 

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000