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Abandoned Fort Howard Veterans Hospital – General Douglas MacArthur had his HQ here

Nikola Petrovski
Fort Howard Veterans Hospital interior. Photo Credit: Stuart McAlpine, CC BY 2.0

Standing at end of North Point Road in Fort Howard, Maryland, this hospital was as if on purpose placed on a spot that had its military past already firmly established.

This was the place where the British brought thousands in preparations for the Battle of Baltimore (a sea/land battle – with 50 warships and 7 thousand soldiers) in the War of 1812.

Montage of events of the War of 1812. 

Montage of events of the War of 1812. 

The purpose of this war was none other than to win back the land that the British lost way back during the Revolutionary War of 1775-1781.

Montage of the events of the American Revolutionary War of 1775-1781. 

Montage of the events of the American Revolutionary War of 1775-1781. 

But the history of this place goes way back to the 1660s when Thomas Todd acquired the land for the need of his plantations. If one is to look at Hermann’s map this spot is neatly labeled under the name of Dod.

Another important fact closely tied to this place is that this very point is where Captain Robert North and his ship Content first set sail laying the roots of a fertile trade down the Patapsco River.

Fort Howard Veterans Hospital. Photo Credit: Preservation Maryland, CC BY-SA 2.0

Fort Howard Veterans Hospital. Photo Credit: Preservation Maryland, CC BY-SA 2.0

It was the Veterans Administration (a government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status) that acquired the fort and decided to move their operations there in 1941. The Fort Howard itself is a military installation dating back to the Spanish-American war.

A piece of equipment used at Fort Howard Veterans Hospital. Photo Credit: Stuart McAlpine, CC BY 2.0

A piece of equipment used at Fort Howard Veterans Hospital. Photo Credit: Stuart McAlpine, CC BY 2.0

It even had its own nickname – Bulldog at Baltimore’s Gate and its purpose was to serve as a coastal artillery headquarters for Baltimore.  Once the Veterans Administration took control they quickly renovated the Medical Corps building to be the nurses’ home, infirmary, and the attendants’ quarters.

Breaking or Entering at its finest. Photo Credit: Stuart McAlpine, CC BY 2.0

Breaking or Entering at its finest. Photo Credit: Stuart McAlpine, CC BY 2.0

This very nurses’ home was where Douglas MacArthur (an American five-star general and field marshal) made a home for his headquarters from 1925 to 1928.

Douglas MacArthur.

Douglas MacArthur.

The hospital itself was officially opened and welcomed its first patients in 1943 and some 15 years later in 1958 The Fort Howard Veterans Hospital also served a different yet similar purpose as an important health services research site. The hospital itself was five-story tall building with some 377 hospital beds.

Fort Howard Veterans Hospital interior. Photo Credit: Stuart McAlpine, CC BY 2.0

Fort Howard Veterans Hospital interior. Photo Credit: Stuart McAlpine, CC BY 2.0

The goal of this research site was an early attempt to raise the level of care and efficiency in the hospital system that later became to be known under the name of Fort Howard Program. In other words, this was the first Research and development (R&D) system in the Health Services.

Leftovers from the equipment. Photo Credit: Stuart McAlpine, CC BY 2.0

Leftovers from the equipment. Photo Credit: Stuart McAlpine, CC BY 2.0

 

Sun-rays through the window. Photo Credit: Stuart McAlpine, CC BY 2.0

Sun-rays through the window. Photo Credit: Stuart McAlpine, CC BY 2.0

This HSR&D (Health Services R&D) was responsible for the innovation and discovering of the importance of the individual monitoring.

When vandals come to visit. Photo Credit: Stuart McAlpine, CC BY 2.0

When vandals come to visit. Photo Credit: Stuart McAlpine, CC BY 2.0

The hospital ceased its services at the very start of the 21 century and the Veterans Administration decided to repurpose the site for mixed-use development for the need of the veterans and their spouses.