14 May 2020

Origins of the Memorial Clinic on 900 East

Continued from previous post

The original Richards family plaque to the
"Pioneers of Medicine in Utah" still
hangs inside the IHC Memorial Clinic building.
In 1925, the 2-acre arboretum and apartment building located at 2000 S. 900 East was purchased by Willard B. Richards (1847-1942) at auction for $33K ($484K in 2020 dollars).

The Richards family is a prominent pioneer family in the Sugar House area and is known for their patriarch, Willard Richards (1804-1854), being the first western doctor in Utah. Richards intended to build 2 more apartment buildings on the property but as before these plans were never realized.

In 1952, two of Willard B. Richards sons decided to form a partnership and build a new type of medical facility (a multi-doctor practice, each with various specialties) on the property purchased by their father 27 year previous.

Willard B. Jr (1879-1965) was a prominent businessman in Sugar House and President of Granite Furniture and Dr. Paul S. (1892-1958) was a doctor who pioneered occupational health. They, and Paul’s daughter Dr. Lenore (1917-2000), established a non-profit: the Richards Memorial Medical Foundation. They built a new medical clinic on the south side of the property which they named the Memorial Medical Clinic after their many prominent physician ancestors.

The new medical building was a two-story red brick structure, divided into 7 clinical divisions. It opened to the public in Oct 1953. Parking for more than 100 cars was provided (this is probably when most of the greenery was removed).

Willard B. Jr, being a frugal contractor, did not build a boiler with the new clinic; rather, he ran heating pipes for the clinic building over to the apartment’s boiler room. The semi-subterranean apartment boiler remained even after the apartment building was demolished in ~1958.

In 1993, when Dr. Lenore was 76 years old, the Memorial Medical Center, Inc was dissolved. Intermountain Healthcare (IHC) purchased the property around this time, demolished the clinic building, and built the new clinic building currently located on the property. 

IHC also named their building the Memorial Clinic in honor of the Richards family of pioneer doctors.

Richards family memorial clinic ca. 1953, from
“Bingham Canyon Doctor” by Eric G. Swedin

Parleys Creek flowing through the Memorial Clinic at 2000 S 900 East.
The creek is daylighted in this section because it is a remnant of the Strevell Arboretum.

Parleys Creek as it appears at the Memorial Clinic.
I believe the lower cobblestone wall is an original remnant of the Strevell Arboretum.

Parleys Creek at Memorial Clinic.

Memorial Clinic at 2020 S 900 East. May 2020.

Memorial Clinic at 2020 S 900 East. May 2020.
Current building was constructed ca 1993.

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