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IVCH plans centennial open house

PERU — Illinois Valley Community Hospital will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of its predecessor, People’s Hospital, in 1914 with an open house event from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday in the IVCH cafeteria.

People’s Hospital was located on the site now occupied by IVCH in Peru. A merger between People’s and St. Mary’s Hospital in LaSalle in 1976 formed IVCH. The St. Mary’s building was eventually closed and later razed. The LaSalle Illinois Veterans Home now occupies the ground where St. Mary’s once stood.

Visitors to the open house will see photos from the early days of People’s and St. Mary’s hospitals along with other exhibits. Refreshments will be served.

The open house will be preceded by a time capsule burial ceremony at 12:30 p.m. to which the public is also invited.

“Doctors and nurses have been caring for patients on this site for 100 years,” said Tommy Hobbs, IVCH chief executive officer. “We are celebrating a century of caring.”

IVCH history

People’s Hospital opened May 6, 1914. The first addition to the original People’s building came in 1940 and was followed by more construction in the 1950s as the post-World War II baby boom came through the Illinois Valley.

An 80-bed wing that was built following the merger with St. Mary’s doubled the size of IVCH in 1979. More recently, construction of the 2003 East Addition gave IVCH a new surgery unit and emergency department and the 2011 vertical expansion to the East Addition added new obstetrics and intensive care units.

Elsewhere on the hospital’s grounds, the medical office building across West Street from IVCH’s main entrance went up in 1986. IVCH put a parking garage next to the office building, added a second story and then connected it to the hospital with a skybridge in 1994-95.

IVCH purchased adjacent property belonging to St. Mary’s parish in 2004 and eventually converted the parish’s school building into an office building. The hospital opened the IVCH Center for Physical Rehabilitation and Aquatics next to the Illinois Valley YMCA in 2006.

IVCH opened the Illinois Valley’s first wound and hyperbaric center in 2013 in a new building on the north side of Sixth Street across from the emergency department entrance.

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