The Marine Hospital is located along the Mississippi River, south of downtown Memphis in the French Fort community. In 1798, President Adams established the Marine Hospital Service to care for injured and disabled seamen working on the Mississippi River. The hospital was a precursor to the Public Health Service. Established in 1884, the Marine Hospital campus cared for wounded Civil War soldiers and conducted scientific research in the hopes of finding a cure for yellow fever.
The original campus consisted of six buildings: the stable, two wards, the surgeon’s house, the administrative building, and nurses’ quarters. The Marine Hospital was the city’s first federally-funded public health facility, and until after World War I was the only government hospital in the area. Two of those early buildings remain, the Executive Building and the Laundry-Kitchen (later known as the Nurses Quarters). 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.
The present-day Colonial Revival-style U.S. Marine Hospital Building was constructed on the site in 1934-1936, followed by its associated Steam Laundry in a Modernist style in 1939. A couple of other smaller buildings were constructed as staff quarters at the same time just west of the hospital along what is now Metal Museum Drive. In order to make room for the large three-story, three-wing hospital, both the Executive Building and the Laundry-Kitchen, were shifted about 100-feet out to the northwest and northeast respectively. The western end of the hospital grounds were sold to the City of Memphis shortly after the facility closed in 1960, and was later leased to the National Ornamental Metal Museum. The Marine Hospital was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
In 2003, the federal government sold the eastern portion of the complex containing the Marine Hospital, the Nurses Quarters and the Steam Laundry to a private group headed by Lauren and Hilliard Crews. The redevelopment was nearly complete by October 2020. Today, the complex is known as The Marine Residence and houses 71 pet-friendly apartments.
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