According to the 1941 biography, The Doctors Mayo, Rochester, Minnesota, has been a medical destination for decades. Author Helen Clapesattle describes a visitor's first impressions upon arriving in Rochester:
Among cornfields, dairy farms, and market villages, you have come upon a little city of great hospitals and crowded hotels; a city with hundreds of acres of parks and playgrounds, with fine stores and specialty shops; a city that is the crossroads of airlines, railroads, and national highways.
Here in the rural calm of southern Minnesota, without a scenic wonder or historic shrine in sight, is a city of 25,000 inhabitants that has an annual transient population of ten times that number. For here, in this river valley of midwestern America, this "little town on the edge of nowhere," is one of the world's greatest medical centers, to which men come from the ends of the earth for treatment and instruction.
That is the paradox of Rochester.