A Sparkling Vintage Life

The Rose Keeper, Day 6: MacNeal Hospital

In THE ROSE KEEPER, Clara works as a nurse at Chicago’s fictional “Memorial Hospital,” which is loosely based on MacNeal Hospital in Cicero’s neighboring suburb of Berwyn. I didn’t use the “real” MacNeal Hospital since certain details didn’t suit the narrative, such as the date of founding. But I would have liked to for several reasons, not least of which is because MacNeal Hospital was my birthplace!

In 1919, Dr. Arthur MacNeal. a Michigan native and graduate of Chicago’s Rush Medical School, opened a clinic in his Berwyn home.  He is credited as being one of the first physicians to use a vaccine against diphtheria and also had one of the first X-ray machines in the country.

Photo source: https://whyberwyn.com

In 1924 the first 3-story hospital was constructed on the MacNeal property, with the fourth story added in 1929. Subsequent expansions and innovations have brought MacNeal to its current status as a 374-bed, well respected teaching hospital.

Today MacNeal Hospital is part of the Loyola Medicine and Trinity health systems, under the auspices of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.

A side note: To celebrate National Hospital Week in, I’m guessing, 1960 or 1961, I participated as a member of the “royal family” of babies born at MacNeal. I don’t remember a thing about the experience, which is probably just as well. Still, it’s a cherished photo of me and my mom.


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