Veterans Hospital American Lake

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Veterans Hospital American Lake
Established 1923
Opened 1924
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Tacoma, WA
Alternate Names


The American Lake campus began in 1923 as the 94th Veterans Hospital to be built by the War Department for the provision of care to World War I Veterans. The Secretary of the Army authorized, under a revocable license, the Veteran Bureau's use of 377 acres of the 87,000 acre Fort Lewis property. The Hurley-Mason Company was awarded contracts for the construction of the facility and work was soon started on Veterans Hospital Number 94.

A site chosen on the western shores of American Lake soon became home for the new buildings of Spanish American architecture. Many of the stucco and terra cotta buildings are listed on the National Register of Historical Buildings, and are still enjoyed by both patients and staff for their esthetic beauty.

The medical center was dedicated in 1924 and chartered with a single mission - neuro-psychiatric treatment. On March 15, 1924, the first 50 patients were admitted to the hospital, by transfer, from Western State Hospital at Fort Steilacoom.

Over the years, American Lake grew from its original mission of a neuro-psychiatric facility, to a multi-care facility. In the 1960's and 1970's Ambulatory Surgical Services, a 76-bed Nursing Home Unit, Blind Rehabilitation Services, a Substance Abuse Treatment Program, and a 60-bed homeless Domiciliary were added to expand the scope of care to Veterans.

In the 1980's and 1990's, additional special programs such as Vocational Rehabilitation, a Residential Care Program, and a Post Traumatic Stress Treatment Program were added. In 1998, Building 81 was renovated and an addition added that allowed for relocation and expansion of Primary Care Services and a Women's Health Clinic.