The Early Years
During these early years, Cleveland Clinic’s founders were promising students, graduating from medical school and beginning their careers. In 1917, George W Crile, MD, organized the first American medical unit to land in France during World War I. Informally known as the Lakeside Unit, this group of doctors, nurses and support personnel from Cleveland took over a British military hospital, where they provided care to patients injured in battle. Impressed with the efficiency and collaboration they saw in the military, Dr. Crile, and his partners Frank Bunts, MD, and William Lower, MD, began dreaming of recreating it at home. This was the genesis of Cleveland Clinic’s group practice. In 1919, Bunts, Crile and Lower recruited John Phillips, MD, to join their group. Together with Bunts's son-in-law, attorney Edward Daoust, the four founders formed the Association Building Company to finance and build their new clinic.
Frank Bunts, MD, the eldest founder, is born in Youngstown, Ohio.
George W Crile, MD, is born in Chili, Ohio.
William Edgar Lower, MD, is born in Canton, Ohio.
John Phillips, MD, is born in Welland, Ontario, Canada.
In 1881, Frank Bunts, MD, graduates from the U.S. Naval Academy. In his brief Navy career, he served in the East Asiatic Squadron and wrote a memoir about his experience. He entered the Western Reserve medical school in 1883.
George Crile, Sr., MD, enters Wooster Medical College in 1886 and graduates in 1887.
In 1887, Frank Bunts, MD, begins work with Frank Weed, MD, (pictured here) an early partnership that would lead to Cleveland Clinic.
Frank Weed, MD, dies in 1891. Following his unexpected death, Frank Bunts, MD and George Crile, Sr., MD, purchase much of the estate in a partnership that was the earliest form of what became Cleveland Clinic. Today, the bill of sale listing the "goods, chattels, and instruments" - including two horses - is one of the oldest documents held in the Cleveland Clinic Archives.
William E Lower, MD, graduates from Wooster Medical College in 1891.
William E Lower, MD, joins the Crile and Bunts practice in 1892.
Lutheran Hospital opens in October 1896. Drs. Bunts and Lower were both on staff.
In 1900, William E Lower, MD, serves as U.S. Army Doctor during the Philippines Rebellion.
Frank Bunts, MD, becomes the first President of the Cleveland Academy of Medicine.
Wartime hospital service has a lasting impression
The Lakeside Unit, a group of doctors, nurses and support staff from Cleveland, arrives in Rouen, France in 1917. Organized by George Crile, Sr., MD, and U.S. Ambassador to France, Myron Herrick, this was the first American unit to arrive in France during World War I. More importantly, the time at Base Hospital No. 4 spawned the idea of Cleveland Clinic. Impressed with military efficiency and collaboration, Dr. Crile and his partners Frank Bunts, MD, and William E Lower, MD, began to dream of re-creating it at home. This was the genesis of Cleveland Clinic's group practice, which became a reality just three years after the war.
Upon returning to Cleveland after the end of the war, Drs. Crile, Bunts and Lower recruit John Phillips, MD, to join their group, feeling that they needed an internist to complement their surgical skills. Dr. Phillips had a large private and consulting practice, and was highly regarded for his ability as a clinician and teacher in internal medicine and diseases of children.