Old Marine Hospital

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Marine Hospital Compton and Dry

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.

Marine Hospital LOC

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the above elevation is from the south; also of interest is that the original ‘cloister’ seen in the Compton and Dry has been replaced by three wings arranged in a fan-like, institutional plan by the turn of the century.

Marine Hospital Sanborn

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.

Tower Grove East Demolitions 080
 

4 Responses

  1. Tom Maher-Kirkwood

    08/26/2013, 03:17 pm

    The assorted Marine Hospitals built around the United states were for civilian mariners – not for members of the Marine Corps – after all, that is what the Base military hospitals and Veterans Hospitals are for. Obviously it was pressed into military service during the Civil War, as the hospital at Jefferson Barracks could not handle the large influx of wounded.
    When the Old Marine Hospital above was torn down, it was replaced by the one in Kirkwood, on Couch at the end of Woodbine.
    This in turn was closed in 1954, when the Federal Government sold it to the Sisters of St. Louis (for $1!) – it was then renamed St. Joseph’s.
    This lasted until 2009 when it was closed and morphed into St. Clare’s in Fenton. It was then demolished and turned into the big buck and frou-frou Aberdeen Heights.
    I miss the old St. Joe’s – it was only blocks from my home.

    Reply
      • Tom Maher-Kirkwood

        08/27/2013, 09:16 pm

        Yes – it dated to 1798 and was the forerunner of the Public Health Service. The Nixon Administration pretty well put paid to the PHS (early “privatizing…). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_Hospital
        I presume the Kirkwood location was closed because of other sourcing of treatments?
        Presumably the Coast Guard personnel health care was shifted to one of the VA hospitals – or more likely to Scott AFB, which has always had a large facility to take care of all military personnel (in 1954, the Navy still had a base at Lambert – and of course the Army/Air Force/Marine Corps Reserve units had active duty staffing (not the Army or Air National Guard units, though, as they were under state control).

        Reply
  2. charlene

    09/20/2013, 02:27 pm

    The original photo looks a lot like Booth Memorial Hospital that was run by the Salvation Army at one time as an unwed mother home.

    Reply

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