Old Marine Hospital

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above elevation is from the south; also of interest is that the original ‘cloister’ seen in the Compton and Dry has been replaced by three wings arranged in a fan-like, institutional plan by the turn of the century.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


  1. 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.

      • 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).

  2. 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.

    • im searching for my sister that was born there linda gail hedrick in the date range of 1964/1967

  3. I was born at the Marine Hospital, according to my birth certificate, in July of 1945. Was that particular Marine Hospital the one in the city described above or had the hospital moved to Kirkwood by that time? A classmate at SLUH has done research on the hospital location which later became the Aberdeen in Kirkwood, but I am still not sure where the Marine Hospital I was born in was located. I assumed the city because that is where my Mom lived at the time. I always thought there was an association with the Marine Corps because my Dad was in the Marines in the 1930s and early 1940s, but apparently that is not the case. Can you help me?

    • You know, it’s a lot harder than I thought to figure out the date of the hospital’s closure. Does anyone know out there? Thanks!

    • John –
      Will a Baby Bill from ’63 accept help from a Cadet from ’58…?
      The new Marine Hospital here in Kirkwood opened in 1940, replacing the old one in the City, so Couch Ave. is where you were born.
      The OLD Marine Hospital was razed shortly after the new one opened.
      Probably the only reason you were born at the Marine Hospital was because during the War all hospitals were stressed – it was originally only for civilian mariners and not the general public and not service members (and not for obstetrics). Service members would have been cared for pre-war by primarily the Army hospital at Jefferson Barracks (this was before the VA hospital). The JB hospital itself was stressed also during the ’40s, as the post was quite a large reception center during the War.

      OT – but since your Dad was in the Corps during the ’30s – did he ever serve in Asia pre-war? One of my great-uncles was in the Yangzte Squadron during the late ’20s and ’30s.

    • The Salvation Army Hospital and home for unwed mothers was always on Marine Avenue in the city limits. Never moved to Kirkwood. You are confusing it with the original St. joseph’s Hospital, which became St. Clare’s. St. Joseph”s(originally in Kirkwood) has been razed,

      Aberdeen Heights now sits on that site. St. Joseph’s Hospital was originally a veterans hospital many years ago.

      • St. Joe’s predecessor on Couch was the aforementioned Marine Hospital; as mentioned, it was for civilian mariners – not service personnel. The only time it cared for service personnel was during the war. And it did not care for veterans.

      • Which building was the Salvation Army Booth Memorial Hospital and the home for unwed mothers? Were they the same buildings?

  4. can anyone help with a sister search i dont know where to turn she was at booth i was told 1964/1967 a girl name of linda gail hedrick? mother donna l. hedrick born 1949

  5. Please email me searching for sister born in Saint Louis Missouri at booth memorial hospital 1965/1967

  6. Booth Memorial hospital was located at 3740 Marine Avenue in St. Louis Missouri.

    It is now the Chinese School. Since the hospital closed down it has changed hands several times. I was born at booth. wrote and got my records. email me at above address if you have not located your information as of yet.

    • P.Hansen I am currently trying to help my mom get her birth records….can you help?

        • I am trying to locate my birth mother. Her name: Lorena Lynne Hendricker, She would have been born in 1949. According to my birth certificate her permanent address is listed as: 3740 Marine Ave., St. Louis, MO. I was born at the Jewish Hospital, 216 S. Kingshighway, St. Louis, MO on 6/19/1965 at 6:11pm. She would have been 16 at the time of my birth. Any help is appreciated.

          • My sisters and a cousin were born at Booth Memorial Hospital and Home for Unwed Mothers, 3740 Marine Avenue St Louis Mo. A lot of the births at this hospital were to mothers who relinquished their babies for adoption… However, they also delivered babies whose mothers were married and had insurance. I have persoal knowledge and proof of both which occured from 1951 thru 1958 at this location, so it is not heresay. MO has an adoption registry and they do contact between adoptees and birth mothers or birth families if each party has registered.

    • I was born at Booth Memorial in 1953, where can I write to get birth record?

  7. Hello,
    Yes, I am trying to get my own birth record from Booth Memorial Hospital where I was born, but, my mother was married, I’ve been told that her, and nearly died, and that my father was asked to choose which one of us should live. However, we both made it!
    Can anyone help me find it??

  8. Could married woman deliverer at booth and keep their baby? The year would have been 1950.

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