• East view from Crissy Field overlook with old Coast Guard station on left and city on right

    Presidio of San Francisco

    California

Old Post Hospital

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The Post Hospital in 1887 with open porches on front and back and formal flower garden in foreground.

This 1864 building displays both Italianate and Greek Revival architectural styles. The original structure was modified by adding wings and enclosing the porches.

Constructed during the Civil War, the Post Hospital is one of the oldest standing buildings on the Presidio. It served as the first general hospital on the Presidio, Wright General Hospital. After being downgraded to a post hospital after the war in 1865, the original facility was expanded from 10 rooms, plus kitchen and dining room, to four wards, plus prisoner ward and morgue. In 1897, an octagonal surgical tower with windows on all sides was added to provide a well-lit operating room. Patients had use of a hospital library, and a vegetable garden and milk cow supplied the kitchen.

After Letterman General Hospital opened in 1898, the building was used as a dentist office, post dispensary and drug rehabilitation center. It housed the Presidio Army Museum from 1974 until February 2000.

Artillery ranging in age from the 17th century to World War I, and 1906 earthquake cottages are still on display outside this historic building

Did You Know?

Jonathan Letterman

Major Jonathan Letterman--after whom the hospital at the Presidio was renamed in 1911--was the medical director of the Army of the Potomac. A founding father of military medicine, Letterman organized forward first-aid stations, mobile field hospitals, and ambulance services during the Civil War.