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Our History

A PROUD HISTORY OF DEDICATION TO THE CORPS OF CADETS AND THE WEST POINT COMMUNITY.

The first hospital to serve West Point was situated on the east side of the Hudson River in a building called "Robinson House". It was established in 1778 and was under the direction of the famed patriot, Dr. James Thacher.

In 1824 a hospital for cadets was established in what was formerly "Gridley's Tavern", a conversion which the "Father of West Point", Sylvanus Thayer, was most happy to effect.

In 1830 the first hospital specifically built for the extension of health care was occupied at West Point. The entire staff of the hospital, consisting of a Surgeon, a Steward, a Matron and five attendants, lived in the building, which covered a ground area of 131 by 40 feet and consisted of a basement and two stories.

Dr. (Major) Walter Wheaton is generally thought of as the first hospital commander, and his portrait occupies the first position in the long line leading up to the present commander. His was a long tenure of some twenty years (1826-1846), and he was much revered by all that knew him. "Wheatoning it" became a common cadet, expression during this period, and referred to the time-honored tradition of "goldbricking."

During this entire period the hospital was a "Cadet Hospital" and it was not until 1851 that a "Soldier's Hospital" was built for care of enlisted personnel and employees of the post. At the time of its completion, this brick building was much more modern than the Cadet Hospital and was 50 by 28 feet in size, with a basement and two stories. It contained four wards, a dispensary and a kitchen. The Soldier's Hospital was rebuilt in 1892 and still stands today in the North Area, above the cemetery, serving as family quarters.

A new Cadet Hospital was constructed over a period of years and was finally occupied in 1884.

The next major construction took place in the 20th Century with the completion of the present hospital in 1923. An addition was completed in 1935, and in 1960 the old hospital building (1884) was torn down to make way for the new cadet barracks.

On 16 August 1974 ground was broken for the construction of William Lordan Keller Army Hospital, a 65-bed facility specifically designed to extend the finest comprehensive health care to the entire West Point community. The construction of Keller Army Hospital concludes the work of many individuals and organizations. Extensively involved in the construction were the Architectural Engineering firm of Leo A. Daly, Omaha, Nebraska; the construction contractor, Murray Walter, Inc., Binghamton, New York; and the Corps of Engineers, New York District; the Health Facility Planning Agency, Office of the Surgeon General; and the Medical Department Activity, West Point

This capsule history of the Medical Department at West Point covers only a minute part of the entire story. Throughout the history of this historic post, the medical personnel stationed here have contributed to the health of the Command in many ways. They were instrumental in improving housing, heating, lighting, food, sanitary conditions, and even uniforms and clothing. The story of this progress is virtually the story of the development of health services in the United States. The continuation of this progress is our goal.

The present Army Hospital which served West Point proudly for 54 years will continue to serve as a Cadet Health Clinic

The cadet hospital built in 1830 stood where Sherman Barracks now stands.


Participating in the 16 August, .1974 ground breaking activities were MG Sidney B. Berry,
LTG Richard R. Taylor, Mr. Murray Walter, Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman, MG Richard H. Groves,
COL Martin A. Pfotenhauer and LTC Thomas C. Jackson

Cadet hospital ward in 1870


COL Keller's Biography