Louisville Marine Hospital

Over the Labor Day Weekend, I took a vacation around the eastern Midwest/northern South to visit various metropolitan areas that due to various circumstances, I had neglected to investigate. Due to their similarities and proximity to St. Louis, I felt it was important to see what sort of comparisons and differences these cities might have had in their development. I hit Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and Indianapolis, as well as several small towns along the way. I took over one thousand photographs. Now, listening to reader feedback (I hear you, Sara!), I am not going to have four months straight of posts from those cities, interrupting the primary focus of this site, which is St. Louis, but rather I am going to thematically investigate these cities, incorporating them into my continued look at the Gateway City.

First up is a stop in Louisville, at the Marine Hospital. St. Louis used to have its own, which I looked at way back in August of 2013 (that post has taken on a life of its own due to its proximity to a former Salvation Army hospital).

I had long known the federal government had used standard designs for buildings, but I was fascinated to discover that even as far back as antebellum America, there were at least two marine hospitals that had remarkably close forms. Both overlooked major rivers, perhaps providing solace to the retired merchant mariners who called the hospitals home in their final years.

St. Louis sadly lost its marine hospital for a bland government archive building, itself replaced with a new facility in North County, but I’m interested in seeing that Louisville is working hard to preserve its landmark. It was fascinating to imagine I was transported back in time, and standing not in Kentucky overlooking the Ohio River but on the bluffs along the Mississippi.

The building is part of a larger complex where there are still health services provided.

Historic fencing is still preserved around the compound, as well.

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