Marine Hospital

The U.S. Marine Hospital dates back 218 years. In 1798, President Adams established the Marine Hospital Service to care for injured and disabled seaman working on the Mississippi River. This was actually a precursor to the Public Health Service.

Marine HospitalThe campus was built in 1884 to care for injured Civil War soldiers and also to conduct scientific research in the hopes of finding a cure for yellow fever. The Marine Hospital is located along the Mississippi River, south of downtown Memphis in the French Fort community. The original campus consisted of six buildings: the stable, two wards, the surgeon’s house, executive building, and nurses’ quarters.

The remains of the original 1884 Nurses’ quarters.

During the 1930s, several Works Progress Administration buildings were built on the campus. To make room for the new WPA hospital, the executive building and the nurses’ quarters were moved 300 feet by wagons pulled by mules. The wards and stables were demolished. The executive building was repurposed as a museum in 1979 and added to the National Register of Historic Places the following year.

A staircase inside the original Nurses’ quarters.

In 1937, the new, 3-story Neo-Classical red brick hospital was built at a cost of $1 million. Constructed in Georgian-style, the building featured a slate roof, limestone columns, and a copper copula.

26456229503_af77aed87e_k26808448820_18bfe7e7a0_k26780209462_4cf6f74520_kEach hospital wing consists of a day room, patient rooms and nurses station. In the rear wing you will find the operating room, a dental ward, and the soundproof chamber used for hearing tests. The morgue was located in the basement.

27021393516_ddadc3ff9d_kThroughout the years, the Marine Hospital was used by the Coast Guard, cadets from the state maritime academies, active duty armed forces, Public Health officials, the Army Corps of Engineers, and government employees injured in the line of duty. Most recently by the Army during Desert Storm to house soldiers.

Basement Morgue
Lobby Hallway
26788562641_5634984876_k (1)
Operating Room
Dental Ward

The hospital closed permanently in 1965 as the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital. The property was split between the museum and the Federal Government.


26965691252_9630cdc364_k.jpgThe museum was allowed to lease their half from the City of Memphis for only a $1 a year. The Federal Government retained their portion until 2004 when it was sold to a private buyer. The campus remains private property and is currently in the works to be redeveloped into 67 apartments.


16 Replies to “Marine Hospital”

  1. How amazing to see that your latest post was about the very hospital my father recuperated in during WWII! what are the odds of that happening? beautiful pictures. They helped me “see” where my father stayed and I could easily imagine the rooms filled with doctors, nurses and patients. thank you so much for highlighting this part of our history!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hardly leave comments, but I browsed some of the responses here. I do have a few questions for you if it’s allright. Is it only me or does it appear like some of the remarks come across like they are left by brain dead visitors? 😛 And, if you are writing on additional online social sites, I would like to keep up with anything new you have to post. Could you make a list of the complete urls of your social sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I lived in Memphis most of my life and I didn’t know half the history of the hospital. Thank you for that. However, I noticed in all the sites on the Marine Hospital, the Indian Mound in the now Chickasaw Heritage Park across from the hospital is not mentioned. I think that is an interesting part of the hospital since the hospitalized could see it from their windows.


  4. Loved reading this and seeing the pictures. I’ve seen this place a few times from the outside. I’m confused though- You say it housed soldiers during Desert Storm, but that it closed permanently in 1965.

    On another note, I was reading today about a plan to turn it into apartments. I like the idea but I don’t know if I want to live somewhere that had a morgue in the basement!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: