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Lurie Children's Wishes Ace Hardware a Happy 95th Birthday!

In honor of Ace Hardware’s 95th birthday, Lurie Children’s wanted to go back in time and share updates from Children’s Memorial Hospital in 1924 when, not far from the hospital, a small group of Chicago hardware stores were joining together to form Ace Hardware.

In 1924, heliotherapy, which is also known as sun or light therapy, was a popular treatment for non-pulmonary forms of tuberculosis, rickets and psoriasis. Below are photos of children receiving treatment at Children’s Memorial Hospital’s heliotherapy facility, which was built in 1922 on the roof of the Agnes Wilson Pavilion at the intersection of Lincoln and Fullerton. Heliotherapy remained widely used until the late 1940s when antituberculosis medications became available.

Dr. Edwin Ryerson, graduate of Harvard University and trained at Boston Children’s Hospital, was an orthopedist at Children’s Memorial Hospital in 1924 who established the Division of Orthopedics that still exists at Lurie Children’s and treats more than 15,000 patients each year. Dr. Ryerson was particularly interested in treating children with Pott’s disease (spinal tuberculosis) and complications of polio, such as those in the photo below, through nonsurgical intervention when possible, as tuberculosis osteomyelitis (bone infection) was extremely common.

Martha Wilson, daughter of John P. Wilson, was president of what is now called the Lurie Children’s Founders’ Board from 1911 until her sudden and untimely death in 1923. She donated her entire considerable estate to Children’s Memorial Hospital, which funded the construction of the Martha Wilson Memorial Pavilion on the southwest corner of Fullerton Avenue and Orchard Street, which included the hospital’s first-ever set of 36 private beds.

Ace Hardware has supported Lurie Children’s for more than 28 of its 95 years and we couldn’t be more thankful for its support.  From Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana retailers – some of which pioneered Ace’s partnership with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in 1991 – to corporate employees and vendor partners, support for Lurie Children’s runs deep within Ace Hardware and we wish everyone a happy 95th birthday!