Monday, January 31, 2011

The Zablocki VA Hospital, Milwaukee

This April the Historic District at the Milwaukee VA Hospital is slated to become a National Historic Landmark. The original part of the complex was constructed in the late 1860s as a hospital for wounded Civil War veterans. It was one of three regionally-situated branch facilities operated by the federal government. Milwaukee architect Edward Townsend Mix designed the original hospital (pictured). As the facility expanded through the 19th century, another prominent Milwaukee architect, Henry C. Koch designed a second hospital, a theater, barracks, officers' quarters and storage buildings. The complex of buildings, situated in a large and publicly accessible park-like landscape, was intended to create a community atmosphere that would help heal both body and mind.

Perhaps some of the current objectives in veterans' care could be inspired by the past and these buildings revitalized to offer a similar and more integrated form of treatment to those who have been injured in their service to our country.