History of medical care in Wright County



John J. Catlin, MD opened a medical practice in three rooms above the old Buffalo Hardware building in downtown Buffalo.


John J. Catlin, MD moved his practice across the street into 12 rooms on the second floor of the new Schmidt Drug Store building. This was called the Catlin Hospital. In the years following, his son, Ted J. Catlin, MD joined his practice and many years later, R. Sandeen, MD joined them. From 1918 until Sept 4, 1951 the doors of the hospital never closed.


City of Buffalo hires architect to begin planning a 15 to 20 bed hospital at a cost of $33,000, with WPA providing labor. In a special election, citizens voted 310 to 188 to sell bonds to build the hospital. Before the project could get started, World War II put the project on hold.


Another election confirms town’s desire to build a hospital. Cost for the building alone was placed at $150,000, and bonds were to be sold. As an area hospital, its ultimate capacity would eventually be 62 beds. Total cost of the project was set at $300,000.


Hospital Board created. Members were: Vance Weaver, Joe Peterson, A.P. Stafford, Harold Templin, Mrs. Lillian Welch, Mrs. Earl Peterson and Mrs. Carl Lindberg.

May, 1950

Construction started on new hospital located on Tower Hill. Building would have room for 28 beds and a staff of 25. Groundbreaking for the project was June 8, 1950, with corner stone ceremony on September 19, 1950.


  • Buffalo Memorial Hospital opens with dedication on August 26,1951 and operation began on September 5th. It had 29 beds and an average daily census of 22. Total cost was $357,000, with monies coming from Village funds, bond issue, local residents and a grant from the Federal government.
  • Buffalo Clinic opens.
  • Wright County Public Health established.


Buffalo Memorial Hospital Auxiliary organized by women of various local communities. Membership was very high and they were extremely active in fundraising. They were instrumental in buying many pieces of equipment and furnishings including a cardiac monitor, defibrillator, incubator, fetal monitor and several items used for physical therapy. They promoted many large community projects to raise money such as style shows, rummage sales and craft bazaars. The Auxiliary eventually disbanded sometime after 2000.


An addition to the Buffalo Memorial Hospital approved by voters to increase by an addition of 16 beds. $50,000 in bond sales were approved and another $43,887 used form other city funds to in crease the facility to 45-bed capacity.


Buffalo Memorial Hospital first addition opens with 8 additional rooms, 2 beds and a large bathroom in each, additional storage rooms, a morgue and physical therapy department.


A second addition approved for Buffalo Memorial Hospital to make room for 26 more beds, one pediatric room, a laboratory, and x-ray room. General and administrative offices as well as medical records were also included.


  • Cokato Medical Clinic established with one physician and three exam rooms.
  • 104 full and part-time personnel were employed at Buffalo Memorial Hospital.


May 25, 1969 open house was held for the second addition to the hospital. This new addition offered an expanded emergency room, pediatric ward, an intensive care observation room, and larger office and lobby areas.


Buffalo Memorial Hospital joins the Health Central Hospital Group to participate in the new and efficient cost cutting method of group buying for lower costs.


Health Central took over business office, accounting and budgeting for the local hospital.


Hospital opened a chemical dependency facility in purchased Covenant Church manse.


City of Buffalo sells hospital to Health Central, Inc.


  • Health Central, Inc. breaks ground for new hospital at present location on Highway 25.
  • Buffalo Clinic moves from downtown location to building at present location on Highway 25. The new facility had 10 providers, 30 exam rooms and six bays in the ER.


Hospital opens new building in October.


Annandale Family Physicians opens in Annandale with one doctor and two other staff members.


Basic 911 service started in county.


Buffalo Memorial Hospital name changes to Health Central of Buffalo.


Independently owned Family Care Centers of Wright County: Albertville, Annandale, Buffalo, Cokato, Montrose and Rockford opened with six exam rooms in the Buffalo Hospital building to provide specialty services to patients. The first year of the clinic’s operation provided specialty services and discovered that additional primary care services were needed in Buffalo. These services were provided by physicians from the other Family Care Centers on their days and evenings off in Buffalo.


Family Care Centers of Wright County changed name to Buffalo Family and Specialty Care Center and recruited Dr. Andrew Burgdorf as family physician. Dr. Burgdorf is still with the clinic today.


Name change to Health One Buffalo Hospital (merge with HealthOne organization).


Cokato Medical Clinic sold its private practice to LSI in April and was then helped in staffing by physicians from Litchfield.


911 service enhanced to include name, phone and address.


  • Buffalo Family and Specialty Care Center is purchased by Healthspan and name changed to Wright Medical Clinic.
  • Cokato Medical Clinic moves into new, state-of-the-art building in prime location along US Highway 12 in Cokato.
  • Wellness On Wheels – WOW van created by partnership between Wright County Public Health and Buffalo Hospital.


  • Buffalo Hospital creates new wing on the north side of the existing building, moving and expanding Emergency Services, creating a new lobby and entrance along Highway 25, and providing new, larger space for clinic.
  • Wright Medical Clinic moves into new wing of hospital building with 33 exam rooms as well as a patient education area. Adds three new doctors.


Hospital opens Rehab Center.


  • Allina Health Annandale Clinic moves into new building on Hwy. 55 and has three physicians, a psychologist, Courage Kenny physical therapy, lab, and x-ray capabilities.
  • Buffalo Hospital expands Birth Center.
  • Buffalo Hospital purchases new CT scanner.
  • Buffalo Hospital named a national top 100 hospital for the second time.



  • Wright County’s first permanently based MRI opens at Buffalo Hospital.
  • Buffalo Hospital adds newborn pages to their website (Spring).
  • Buffalo Hospital auxiliary disbanded.


  • Buffalo Hospital expands Short Stay Center and adds two additional operating rooms.
  • Buffalo Hospital is second hospital in nation to add Instymeds, an automated system for dispensing prescription dedications for emergency and urgent care patients (Fall).


  • Buffalo Clinic opens new two-story Medical Office Building, with 20 providers, 59 exam rooms, nine special procedure rooms, connected to Buffalo Hospital. (Buffalo’s first skyway).
  • Buffalo Hospital Foundation founded.
  • Buffalo Hospital Cardiac Center opens.
  • Buffalo Hospital Sleep Center opens off site.
  • Buffalo Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care expand.


  • Buffalo Hospital implements electronic medical record—Allina Health first shared system.
  • Buffalo Hospital implements EMI - Enterprise Medical Imaging, digital medical imaging system providing electronic transfer and storage of medical images.
  • Buffalo health campus goes tobacco-free.
  • Buffalo Hospital Surgery & Outpatient Center opens in new wing.
  • Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute and Courage Kenny Sports& Physical Therapy (off site) open.


Population of Wright County is 102,000.

  • Allina Health Annandale Clinic has a medical staff of three family practice physicians, a psychologist, 9 exam rooms, plus a procedure room. Courage Kenny Sports & Physical Therapy is available on-site.
  • Allina Health Clinic - Buffalo has medical staff of 18 providers, 58 exam rooms and is in a new, two-story facility attached to Buffalo Hospital.
  • Allina Health Cokato Clinic has six providers and 12 exam rooms and is open one evening a week.
  • Buffalo Clinic has 20 providers, 59 exam rooms, 9 special procedure rooms, radiology, laboratory, and a Medical Skin Care Center.
  • Buffalo Hospital has 65 licensed beds, 180 physicians on staff, and 415 employees.