Plummer’s Political Past #ThrowbackThursday

This election cycle has been a heated one. However, back in 1928, there was also a very contentious presidential race between Herbert Hoover and Al Smith. This particular race also has a unique connection to Mayo Clinic’s oldest building.

According to a recent KIMT article, when Henry Plummer, M.D., was designing the Plummer Building, he decided to immortalize the 1928 presidential election. On the side of the building facing Second Street SW, about a story up, you can see the images of an elephant and a donkey, representing the two political parties.

Dr. Plummer was a loyal Republican and had a friendly rivalry with the chairman of the National Democratic Party, so when Hoover won the election, Dr. Plummer decided to add carvings of an elephant with its head held high—and a very defeated-looking donkey.

“The friendship there is carved in stone here on the Plummer Building,” explains Matthew Dacy, the Director of Heritage Hall Museum at Mayo Clinic. “With all the committee approvals and things, they received permission to kind of have a little iconic moment of that time when the building opened and Mr. Hoover became U.S. President.”

Alyssa Frank (@alyssafrank)

Alyssa Frank

Alyssa Frank is a Marketing Segment Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She leads marketing strategies for product management and specialty testing. Alyssa has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2015.