The U.S. Marine Hospital dates back over 200 years. In 1798, President Adams established the Marine Hospital Service to care for injured and disabled seaman working on the Mississippi River. The hospital was a precursor to the Public Health Service. The campus was built in 1884 to care for wounded 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, administrative building, and nurses’ quarters.
During the 1930s, several Works Progress Administration buildings were built. The administrative building and the nurses’ quarters were moved 300 feet by wagons pulled by mules to make room for the new WPA hospital. The wards and stables were eventually demolished. The administrative building was repurposed as a museum. In 1979, the Marine Hospital was added to the National Register of Historic Places the following year.
In 1937, the three-story Neo-Classical red brick hospital was completed at the cost of $1 million. The hospital, constructed in Georgian-style, featured a slate roof, limestone columns, and a copper copula.