The Post Hospital

The Post Hospital (HM1MT7)

Location: Fort Laramie, WY 82212 Goshen County
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Country: United States of America
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N 42° 12.323', W 104° 33.435'

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Fort Laramie National Historic Site

A succession of three hospitals served Fort Laramie from 1849 to 1890. The first hospital was located in the old adobe trading post (Fort John) at the south end of the parade ground. Suffering from structural failure and a serious vermin infestation, the hospital moved in 1856.Constructed of wood and adobe brick, the second hospital was located just below and to the left of the ridge on which you now stand. Only subsurface remains survive.The ruins in front of you are all that remain of the third hospital, built in 1873 on a site previously used for the post cemetery. Before work could begin on the new hospital, soldiers had to remove and reinter six burials found within the lines of construction. Dozens of other burials were abandoned and left unmarked around the hospital. Please stay on the marked paths and respect this cemetery as you would any other burial ground.State-of-the-art for its time, the third post hospital was a 12-bed facility with a large, airy patient ward, kitchen, dining room, dispensary, bathing room, lavatory, and office space. Its interior was smooth-plastered in white to make disinfecting and cleaning easier. Sunny verandas provided a pleasant place for patients to convalesce during warm weather.To the rear of the building stood the quarters of the hospital steward, a senior non-commissioned officer who was in charge of the day-to-day administration of the hospital. Often the steward's wife served as the hospital matron, who washed and distributed clean clothing and linens, and cooked for the patients. The hospital garden provided a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Milk cows, chickens, and pigs kept by the hospital supplied the patients with fresh milk, eggs and meat.The post surgeon made daily rounds. By the late 1880s, the surgeon was only a phone call away after the telephone line was installed between his residence and the hospital. As the only hospital within 100 miles, it also treated civilians, who were charged $1 per day for hospitalization.Lime-GroutThe 1873 post hospital was the first building built here using "lime-grout." Impressed by the economic advantages of poured wall construction, the army continued to use the technique on virtually every major structure built here after 1873.Lime-grout was made by burning native limestone in a kiln, driving off the carbonic acid to create quicklime. Coarse river gravel was mixed with water and quicklime forming mortar. Poured into box forms made of 2- by 12-inch planking, this mixture hardened for 24 hours. The forms were removed, placed on top of the hardened mixture, and again filled with wet lime-grout. The process was repeated until the wall reached its required height.Stripped of roofs, windows, and doors after the fort was abandoned, the lime-grout buildings began to deteriorate. Without protection, lime-grout readily absorbs moisture, and in the winter the water freezes and expands, causing cracks and spalling.Preservation crews constantly battle these processes by sealing cracks and exposed surfaces with a patching material made of lime-grout.
HM NumberHM1MT7
Placed ByNational Park Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, August 12th, 2015 at 5:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)13T E 536549 N 4672674
Decimal Degrees42.20538333, -104.55725000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 42° 12.323', W 104° 33.435'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds42° 12' 19.38" N, 104° 33' 26.1" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)307
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Unnamed Road, Fort Laramie WY 82212, US
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