125 Year Anniversary - 1960 Nurses

125 Years of Care

Celebrating UM Health-Sparrow Health System's 125th Anniversary

At UM Health-Sparrow, we've built a health system from the ground-up. We've come a long way, from the day in 1896 when eight strong women decided to fill Lansing's hospital void over a game of cards, to the expansive health system with 150 sites of care across Mid-Michigan we are today.

In that time, we've worked to not gain, but earn our community's trust. As a hospital by the people for the people, our hearts grew more and more invested in our work over the years. As neighbors serving neighbors, ironically, there was nothing clinical about our care. And as we've grown, we've maintained this connected ideology.

Over the past twelve decades, we've also grown alongside the nation and the globe. We've experienced and addressed some of the biggest growing pains in history, from the 1918 flu to the COVID-19 pandemic. In that time, however, we've also seen the bright side of healthcare technological developments, and we're even able to play a part in some of the most significant discoveries of the last century. And through it all, as the world was unfolding for better or for worse, UM Health-Sparrow was here for this community.

Here's to 125 more.


UM Health-Sparrow through the years.

From a group of pioneering women at the Hotel Downey to the region's leading health system with 150 sites of care, UM Health-Sparrow has seen exceptional growth and change over the past 125 years. Every step along the way has helped set foundational roots and shape the remarkable care we deliver today.

1896: 114 women meet at the Hotel Downey and organize the Women's Hospital Association, later opening the first City Hospital at 310 W. Ottawa Street.

1912: E.W. Sparrow Hospital opens in November, on land donated by Edward W. Sparrow at 1215 E. Michigan Avenue. The Women's Hospital Association is responsible for patient care.

1927: Hospital main structure is rebuilt and enlarged. The Chapin (or, East) Wing is added thanks to gifts from the E.W. Sparrow and Edward C. Chapin families, alongside other pledges.

1942: Additions to the Post (or, West) Wing and Chapin (or, East) Wings are completed and improvements are made to the power plant, kitchens, and other facilities.

1950: The Ingham County Detention Home is leased to the hospital by the county and renamed the East Unit. This is used to house polio patients and those recovering.

1966: The South Wing building is completed and opened for patients in November, and the first Intensive Care Unit is opened.

1974: Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery on 3-South is constructed and opened.

1980: Ground breaking for construction of the West Wing is held in December. South Annex (formerly Provincial Hospital) is opened to the expanded Outpatient Hemodialysis Unit and cafeteria.

1985: Physicians Health Plan is established as an affiliate of Sparrow.

1988: Sparrow joins the Children's Miracle Network (CMN) to raise funds for the Pediatrics Department, and later raises more than $340k through its first CMN Telethon.

1997: Sparrow and St. Lawrence Hospital sign a merger agreement, and the Professional Building is completed.

1998: Sparrow's new Neuro Intensive Care Unit, Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Urgent Care Center, and Hospice House of Mid-Michigan open. On top of that, Mid-Michigan's first quintuplets are born at E.W. Sparrow Hospital.

2002: E.W. Sparrow Hospital Heart Center performs its 3,000th open heart surgery.

2008: Grand opening of the 10-story Sparrow Tower, containing six operating rooms, 62 Emergency Department exam treatment rooms, four Level 1 Trauma rooms, and a rooftop Heliport.

2020: Sparrow Health System receives international recognition for its agile response to the COVID-19 pandemic, discharging more than 1,000 COVID patients within ten months.

2021: Sparrow celebrates its 125th anniversary, having expanded to 115 sites of care across nine counties in Michigan and employing more than 8,000 dedicated team members.