Thomas Budd Van Horne

Quick Facts

Thomas Budd Van Horne, a veteran and chaplain, designed the National Home for Central Branch Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Dayton, Ohio (now the Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center). Van Horne laid out the campus with a grid pattern for streets with the major thoroughfare dividing the barracks from the administrative offices to mimic a small village. This layout created small neighborhoods or sections on the campus. Van Horne designed large parks and open spaces around the streets and buildings. While the administrative buildings were laid out in a grid pattern, the parks and open space had a curvilinear pattern with extensive walking paths and gardens. Mr. C. B. Davis designed the gardens.

The natural feel of the gardens and the parks provided the veterans with an enjoyable place to spend their time, since they could not return to work. The gardens and parks were so attractive that tourists made day trips out to the Central Branch to enjoy the natural beauty. The Board of Managers reported that 100,000 people visited the Central Branch annually in the mid-1870’s.