THE U. S. VETERANS HOSPITAL No. 79, OUT WOOD, KY.
In 1920 roads throughout this section of the country were primitive, the reservation site being almost inaccessible at certain seasons except by horseback. When construction gangs began to arrive, army wagons and trucks loaded with lumber and supplies had to be driven over trails, through swamps and over rocky ledges. Wagon mules had either to go without water or to drink from stagnant pools while, if drinking water for the men failed, the situation really became serious. Wagon trains progressed, despite the indignant protestations of copperheads along the winding, uncertain paths.
A modern city has been built at this place, with fire-proof buildings containing the latest equipment and mechanical devices, concrete roads and walks, sewage system with septic tank and filter beds, water pumping station, with water rectifying plant, a 200,000 gallon reservoir and a 100,-000 gallon tank with a 100 foot tower. There is a refrigerating plant, gas system, fire protection, street lights, telephone system, incinerator, and a modern power house with four of the largest boilers used by the government. There is a macadam roadway from Dawson Springs, three and one-half miles, a network of ditches, materials, men, mules, wagon and trucks.
The electric current comes from Earlington, 16 miles away, and a line has been built ?over the hills and through the woods? for this distance, Five wells have been sunk.
The following was written October 7, 1922:
?The idea of establishing a hospital for disabled veterans of the World War at Dawson Springs, Kentucky, was first conceived shortly after the close of the war by Mr. Theodore R. Troendle, of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and Representative D. H. Kincheloe. An appropriation for $1,500,000 for this purpose was secured by Act of Congress under date of March 3, 1919, providing that this amount should be expended on a sanitorium of 500 beds on land to be acquired by gift. The land was acquired by purchase from various citizens of Christian, Hopkins, and Caidwell Counties, Kentucky. The money for this purchase was raised by popular subscription to the amount of $60,000. The remaining $40,000 to purchase the 5,000 acres of land was appropriated by the legislature of the state of Kentucky.
In August, 1920, the work was started by contractors on the present site. It soon became evident in order to complete the hospital in accordance with original plans, an additional appropriation would be necessary, although the original $1,500,000 was augmented by immense quantities of salvaged material from the various army camps, especially Camp Johnston, at Jacksonville, Florida. An additional appropriation was therefore requested in the amount of $750,000, which was granted by Congress. New contracts were let July 1, 1921, and the work was rushed to completion. The buildings were finally completed in February, 1922.
Under date of February, 1922, the hospital was formally dedicated. Memorable ceremonies signified this event. The entire legislature of the State of Kentucky, the Governor and his staff, together with Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Edward Clifford, Representatives Langley and Kincheloe, Dr. S. M. Rinehart, of the Veterans? Bureau, Colonel James Mattison, of the National Military Homes, Mr. Emmett O?Neal, State Commander of the American Legion, Miss Florence Waite of the Red Cross, Mr. William Lynch and Roy Scott of the city government of Dawson Springs, and many other national government officials and officials of the state of Kentucky and various veterans? organizations were present. It is estimated that more than 12,000 persons were present at the ceremonies. The buildings were dedicated, but at that time the hospital was not ready for opening. Due to the fact that equipment had to be installed in the buildings and a rectification plant for the treatment of the water had to be erected, the hospital was not opened until April 24, 1922.
The first patient received at the hospital was Miss Grace Patterson, a disabled nurse.
The hospital consists of 28 buildings of permanent construction. The total appropriations consisted of $2,250,000 for the erection of the buildings and installation of equipment. The land upon which the hospital is built cost $100,000. Since these amounts were expended, the government has continued to expend various amounts on equipment and on the maintenance and operation of the hospital, so that to October 7, 1922, the total amount spent by the United States in the building and operation of the Dawson Springs hospital was $2,730,481.38.
In completing this plant, a modern city was built, with fire proof buildings and complete equipment and mechanical devices. The roads leading from Dawson Springs and from the railroad spur were constructed. Streets, street lights, telephone system, refrigerating plants, gas system, and modern power house were constructed. A steel bridge and trestle were built over the Tradewater River; in a word a complete plant was built from the ground up.
It is now equipped to handle approximately 500 patients. At the present time the patient population is 300. The hospital specializes in the treatment of tuberculosis and does not attempt to handle any other class of cases.
Compiled by the Dawson Springs Commercial Club, 1924
A BRIEF HISTORY
The United States Veterans? Hospital Number Seventy-nine is located three and one-half miles south of Dawson Springs, Ky., on the road leading from Dawson Springs to Hopkinsville. The hospital proper occupies a site within a densely wooded area at an altitude of 635 feet. While the reservation proper comprises more than five thousand acres, only about twenty-five acres are used for buildings and grounds. Ground was broken early in 1921 and much excavating and filling was necessary, as the ground upon which the hospital is now located was broken by deep gullies and it was necessary to excavate and fill these gullies to properly locate the buildings.
At present, the hospital comprises 27 buildings, including Administrative Building, Junior and Senior Officers? Quarters, Nurses? Home, Infirmaries, Ambulance and Receiving Ward, Mess Hall, Recreation Building, Chapel, Power Plant, Laundry and Attendants? Quarters. The erection of four additional Officers? Quarters and the Personnel Recreation Building has just been completed.
The construction cost of the present hospital was approximately $2,-250,000.00. This money was spent in the erection of the buildings, grading of the grounds, road building and the mechanical equipment. The reservation surrounding the hospital was in a measure donated by philanthropic citizens, and practically the only cost to the Government in the erection of the hospital was the buildings and mechanical equipment. This hospital is the last word in hospital construction. It has been pronounced by experts as the best hospital maintained by the United States Veterans? Bureau. The operating expenses run about $45,000.00 per month. Approximately 45 per cent of this sum is absorbed in salary. Fuel consumption per day is about ?six tons of coal in summer to sixteen tons in winter. This coal is purchased locally and hauled by hOrses and wagons a distance of five miles from the mine to the power plant. The electric current used in the hospital is purchased from the Kentucky Utilities Company, and is furnished through a power line from Earlington, a distance of eighteen miles. The average consumption of electric current is about 23,000 kilowatts per month. The water used in the hospital is supplied by six wells, having a depth of from 250 to 500 feet. The water is pumped from these wells through a purifying plant to a 100,000 gallon tank. All buildings are constructed of hollow tile with concrete basements and floors, finished on the outside with stucco and are all practically fire-proof; the laundry, infirmary buildings and mess hall are equipped with automatic elevators.
- Birth: Dec. 27, 1893
St. Louis City
Death: Dec. 17, 1934
US ARMY COOK WORLD WAR I
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
St. Louis County
Plot: 52 0 935K