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Iowa History Daily: December 10 - Santa at Stead

Iowa History Daily: On December 10, 1919, Santa first visited the newly built Children’s Hospital of Iowa (now University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital) in Iowa City to hear wishes from the children. A beacon of hope for Iowa families with children facing medical issues, the Children’s Hospital of Iowa offered a little extra holiday cheer to those in need during its first holiday season.

After the construction and founding of the Iowa Children’s Hospital in 1919, by early December Santa arrived to provide a pick-me-up to the patients. As reported in the Iowa City Daily Citizen, Santa “made a call on the little folks at the children’s hospital,” and that “it is rumored that he carried with him some pre-Christmas packages.”

Two days later, Daily Citizen put out a call for toys, games, and other Chirtmas gifts for the children staying at the hospital from Superintendent of the Children’s Hospital Ella M. Myrich. With the help of local citizens the hospital worked to provide as merry a Christmas as possible for the families already facing a difficult holiday season.

Today, the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital occupies a 190 inpatient pediatric bed facility overlooking Kinnick Stadium. Since 2017, fans at the games have turned to wave to the patients and families at the hospital. As true today as in 1919, the families at the children’s hospital in Iowa City can use support from Iowans to navigate the holiday season. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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