U.S. Veterans Bureau Hospital No. 100, 5500 Armstrong Road, Battle Creek, Calhoun County, MI
Significance: United States Veterans Bureau Hospital No. 100 officially opened on October 15, 1924. Situated on a campus setting near the Kalamazoo River, the Center was built on a 675 acre site once occupied by a portion of Camp Custer, a military induction center that completely closed following the Korean War. The United States War Department, with Thomas E. Leaky, the supervising engineer, opened bids from various construction companies on February 21, 1923 in Washington DC. A. Bently and Son, a construction company based in Toledo, Ohio, was awarded the construction contract, having submitted a low bid of $2,174,680. The hospital was to be completed within 500 days; calling for the construction of twenty-three buildings, providing accommodations to handle 500 patients. Constructed as part of the Veterans Bureau's "Architectural Set" for hospitals, Battle Creek Veterans Bureau Hospital No. 100 represented the United States government's traditional use of "standard" designs. Since the nineteenth century the U.S. government adopted standard designs for its many military facilities and variations among these structures were few. However, Veterans hospitals built across the country from 1923 to the 1940's, redefined the government's standard design theories. Variations on military building designs in the past often reflected necessary adaptation to available construction materials and site topography. While veterans hospitals also sought the need to adapt to available resources and geography, their construction variations began to reflect reforms in medical care, thus resulting in more creative design policies. Georgian Colonial in its architectural style, Battle Creek's Veterans Bureau Hospital, No. 100, resembled other Veterans Bureau's medical centers in its construction, functional layout, elevation, plan and design approach. But architectural styles were modified at other centers to accommodate the surrounding communities. In conjunction with advancements in medical treatment, veterans hospitals throughout the country displayed some sensitivity to local history in an effort to provide a "home-like" atmosphere for patients. In addition, Battle Creek's Veterans Bureau Hospital No. 100, was the first completely electrified hospital in the United States. Central Electric Co. of Battle Creek was awarded the contract for the electrical work, which included all the buildings, a complete street lighting plan, and a fire alarm system similar to the one being used at the time by the City of Battle Creek. The construction of the first complete electrified hospital of its kind was significant to the Battle Creek community and the country.
Survey number: HABS MI-392