Located off of Marine Avenue, just south of Broadway, the Marine Corps Hospital no doubt was built in that location to take advantage of the breezes off of the river, as it was thought to be healthy in the Nineteenth Century. Supposedly built in 1855 for old riverboat captains, it was beyond a doubt under the control of the US government for use as a hospital for wounded Marines during the Civil War.
As can be seen in the Compton and Dry map from 1876, the building originally featured a cupola, similar to another Marine hospital in Louisville. I’m wondering that the structure seen above replaced the original mariners’ home, or the home was never used for old riverboat captains since the design seems very similar and was probably a standard hospital design. Furthermore, this report by the US government in the 1940′s clearly states that it was built for the Marines. The Sanborn map reveals that the above elevation is from the south; also of interest is that the original ‘cloister’ seen in the Compton and Dry has been replaced by three wings arranged in a fan-like, institutional plan by the turn of the century.
Needless to say the Marine Hospital was still standing by the 1940′s and I suspect it was demolished sometime before 1958, when the current U.S. Personnel Records facility was commissioned and built on the site. Interestingly, the records were moved from a temporary site at the Butler Brothers Warehouse. The current building and property is still owned by the US government, and it is a massive, very long building, with a little Modernist architectural interest. According to the City of St. Louis records, the property is a very odd combination of two parcels; one a large oval surrounded by an almost snake-like second parcel. Surely the odd property lines are a remnant of the old Marine Hospital.