Valley Forge General Hospital
|Valley Forge General Hospital|
|Building Style||Corridor Plan|
The story of the Valley Forge Army Hospital begins on April 1, 1942, when a directive from the Office of the Chief of Engineers in Washington, DC authorized construction of this general hospital on its present site. On May 26, 1942, actual work was begun. Colonel Henry Beeuwkes, Medical Corps, reported as the first Commanding Officer in June 1942. He established his headquarters in the farmhouse located on the post property. This farm house was ultimately to become building #100, and the residence of the Hospital Commanding Officer. The hospital was situated on a 180-acre site that contained 130 two-story semi-permanent brick buildings, according to the Army Medical Corps. All the medical buildings were connected with a total of 7 miles of corridors.
On George Washington’s birthday, the 22nd of February 1943, and with ceremonial simplicity, the Valley Forge General Hospital was opened. Nearly a year later, on September 26th the Army post was formally dedicated. In contrast to its quiet beginnings, this later occasion was marked by distinguished quests and a full military dress parade, fitting symbols of the transition in this medical base from infancy to full maturity. Listed among the guests were Major General George F. Lull, Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army, Justice Owen J. Roberts, Associate Justice, US Supreme Court, and Brigadier General Milton G. Baker, Commander Pennsylvania State Guard, and former Commandant of Valley Forge Military Academy.
The Department of Psychiatry and Neurology was among the world leaders in Psychiatric treatments. Many new medications were first utilized there, and many treatment techniques were developed there. The physicians, nurses and the neuropsychiatric technicians sent tens of thousands of cured personnel back to duty. The return to duty rate following treatment was much higher than in the vast majority of civilian hospitals.
In 1950, the Department of Defense ordered the closing of the hospital in a cost-cutting move, but local protests and the Korean War ended the plan. The hospital continued to treat soldiers until 1974. In June of that year, the hospital closed and its facilities handed over to a number of groups. The site is now occupied by the University of Valley Forge.