Did You Know: Grunow Clinic Among The First Of Its Kind In Arizona

By Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez
Published: Friday, January 9, 2015 - 3:08pm
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(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez/ KJZZ News)
This is the main entrance of the Grunow Memorial Clinic on 10th Street and McDowell Road in Phoenix.
(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez/ KJZZ News)
This is one of the four murals in the Memorial Hall of the Grunow Memorial Clinic in Phoenix. This mural features French chemist Louis Pasteur.
(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez/ KJZZ News)
The Grunow Memorial Clinic entrance façade, and its windows, are adorned with intricate moldings made of cast concrete, among the unique architectural aspect of the building.
(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez/ KJZZ News)
The Memorial Hall at the entrance of the Grunow Memorial Clinic is a memorial to Lois Anita Grunow. She died at 7-years-old, archivists say she was medically misdiagnosed.

It is one of the most unique structures in the Valley and among the first of its kind in the state. Today, the building blends with the others in the area, but behind this simple-looking structure is a lot of history.

Drive past 10th Street on McDowell Road and you’ll notice the Grunow Memorial Clinic. It’s an office building with doctors, laboratories and medical experts. It’s been around for more than 80 years. Did You Know…the Grunow Memorial Clinic was among the first clinics in Arizona?

“This was one of the first in Arizona where the doctors weren’t in the buildings in downtown Phoenix but were out by the hospital," said James Garrison, Arizona’s State Historic Preservation Officer.

“Good Samaritan Hospital was developed diagonally across the street here at 10th and McDowell and this building was one of the first, if not the first, to have doctors by the hospitals," Garrison said. "And you came to see the doctor more of a neighborhood setting than going to a high-rise building downtown.”

The Grunow Clinic was built in 1931. Archivists’ reports show the clinic opened with 13 specialists, a laboratory, research center, radiology department and a medical library one of the first in the state. It was created in memory of Lois Anita Grunow. The seven-year-old died in Chicago after a possible misdiagnosis. Her father, William Grunow, a wealthy businessman from the Midwest, endowed $1 million to create it here.

“It’s on the south edge of what we call the Coronado Historic District, which is more of a working-class, middle-class neighborhood," Garrison said. "And one of the things he wanted medicine brought to all the people not just the elite of the community and that was one of his purposes for locating it here.”

Its service wasn’t the only unique aspect about this place. Originally, the J-shaped building was designed by well-known Arizona architect Lester Byron.

“It’s very stylistic driven by the time it was constructed," Garrison said. "There was the feeling that states, especially in the West, needed to have an architectural identity of their own. And it started in the West with what we call Mission Revival to emulate the missions of California.”

The entrance façade and several of its windows are adorned with intricate moldings, some are signs of the medical profession. The elaborate designs continue through the Memorial Hall inside the main entrance and high above near the ceiling on each wall are four murals depicting key moments in medical history.

“This is one of the premiere Spanish Colonial Revival buildings in the state of Arizona," Garrison said.

The property has gone through additions and expansions since it was built in 1931, but the original building, its façade and purpose continue today.

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