Family spending time together


Allen Hospital was a gift from Henry B. Allen. Henry and his wife Mary were early Cedar Valley settlers who came west to Iowa in 1862. Henry was a lawyer and first president of the National Bank. He and Mary also raised fine horses for sale across the country.

Henry and Mary retired to California around 1900, but they never forgot their friends and neighbors in Iowa. After Mary died in 1913, Henry donated 80 acres of land and $200,000 to build a hospital in Mary’s name. He promised the community a non-sectarian hospital that would be open to all. Henry didn’t live to see his dream fulfilled, but his friends and neighbors did. Allen Memorial Hospital was dedicated on Mary’s birthday in 1924 and opened for patients in February 1925. Allen School of Nursing, the predecessor of Allen College, opened in 1926.

Six generations of patients and providers have been Henry’s beneficiaries. The original building still stands, surrounded by many additions. The latest addition, the Pauline Barrett Pavilion, opened in 2009. It too was made possible by a namesake benefactor, Waterloo philanthropist Pauline Barrett.

Allen Hospital serves many communities. Half of Allen’s patients today come from the towns and neighborhoods of Black Hawk County. The other half come from nine surrounding counties. Everyone comes here looking for the comfort, care and compassion Henry Allen promised his friends and neighbors 85 years ago. We strive to make sure his promise is well-kept today.