VHA evolved from the first federal soldiers’ facility established for Civil War Veterans of the Union Army. On March 3, 1865—a month before the Civil War ended and the day before his second inauguration—President Abraham Lincoln signed a law to establish a national soldiers and sailors asylum. Renamed as the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in 1873, it was the first-ever government institution created specifically for honorably discharged volunteer soldiers.Following the Civil War, many state Veterans homes were established. Since domiciliary care was available at all state Veterans homes, incidental medical and hospital treatment was provided for all injuries and diseases, whether or not of service origin. - US Department of Veterans Affairs
The Marine Hospital Service was the genesis of America’s modern health care system and is responsible for major improvements in research, hygiene and science-based medical treatment. In 1863 and during the first two years of the Civil War, the Marine Hospital treated wounded Union soldiers from Shiloh, Perryville and other major battles. The Marine Hospital was closed for the duration of the war, and boatmen returned to the Louisville Marine Hospital for treatment. In 1869 The Sisters of Mercy accepted an offer to come to Louisville and operate the U.S. Marine Hospital. The Sisters continued supervision until the Marine Hospital Service was reorganized and resumed operation of the facility in 1875.
“On September, 1867, the present hospital at Lake View was ordered...In 1868, Congress appointed a commission to select a site for a new hospital. An available site was secured at Lake View, on high ground overlooking the lake, and the government purchased ten acres here. Work on the new building began in 1869, and it was completed in 1872 at a cost of $4,452,000. Competent judges say the building could not now be reproduced for the same money. The structure comprises a central building and two wings, [each] four stories [with a] basement. The entire building is built of lemonstone, and handsome stone porches grace the various fronts. The main building, which is 350 x 60 feet in area, contains the offices, executive departments, dispensary, and administrative department. The wings each contain three wards, accommodating twenty patients to each ward, and they are thirty feet wide, interior measurement. The building was refitted in 1879 under the supervision of Dr. Truman W. Willer.” - Compass Rose Cultural Crossroads
with then existing shoreline
History of Cook County, Illinois by A.T. Andreas
The present hospital building is a sufficiently large one and save that it lacks an elevator is fairly well adapted for hospital purposes It is situated on the lake shore and in a quiet sparsely settled residence portion of the city. The location is extremely advantageous the open front and large grounds insuring sufficient air and the nature of the suburb rendering it free from smoke and as nearly free from dust as is possible in Chicago. Since the hospital was opened a number of changes have been made the leveling of the grounds and building the breakwater on the lake being the most extensive. So far, as is known to the writer, no changes have been made in the building save the addition of an operating room in 1896. This was designed by Surgeon Hamilton and built under his supervision is handsomely finished inside with white marble floors and wainscoting and has a perfect light. - Annual Report