Over Veteran’s Day I got a chance to visit the old Walter Reed…. The week we closed, I really wanted to walk around to all my favorite places and see them one last time, but we were so busy I didn’t get a chance to. I was thankful to see it again three years later. How spooky it was to be there without anyone around. The power was out in all of the buildings, except the Chapel. So the photos are dark…(and I’m not a photographer).
Building 11, Delano Hall, this was once the dormitory for the Army’s first Nursing School which graduated 400 Army nurses in its first graduating class. The years I was at Walter Reed, it was an administrative building known for anxiety provoking events like: finger printing, security clearances, CAC cards and replacement ID’s. (I had to go there a lot).
one of many old ballrooms. This one in Building 11.
view from the barracks
Building Two, Heaton Pavilion (named after Eisenhower’s surgeon). The last active hospital.
the veranda in front of Building 2. It is exactly 1/4 mile around, but no one’s running on it anymore.
Hallway into MATC – outside of OT Clinic. It is dark because the power is out.
Inside the Fishbowl
No more tour groups (except me)
That’s the the “Solo-Step” track in the ceiling, where we could clip patients in so they wouldn’t fall when learning to walk/run
you can just barely make out the tape outline of our old agility ladder on the floor
This is the view through the one way mirror in the psychiatrist’s office looking out into our clinic. Don’t act crazy!
someone appears to have left the driving simulator behind.
and the 3-D virtual reality treadmill!
– Hallway from MATC to Building One
Walking into the hospital now… This is the prosthetics lab where they assembled the arms and legs. Always busy -empty now.
No more sick call!
The therapy pool. Where the pool therapist once found a patient giving a St. Bernard dog a bath in the locker room during lunch.
Inside the 3rd Floor Outpatient PT Clinic – did someone have a party here?
3rd Floor Outpatient PT
View from PT Clinic
Stairwell in Walter Reed’s colors!
The monkeys were still in the trees
Ward 57 empty at last
Patient room in the Eisenhower Suite
– View from the Eisenhower Suite
– “I see France!” (KD)
Mologne House gazebo and patio. Unfortunately the fish in the coy pond were eaten by raccoons after the closure.
Crab apple trees.
Never noticed these before
Old Chapel still looks brilliant!
Working pipe organ
Rumbaugh Garage where I had always hoped to qualify for parking
– Now I’m a tourist. Goodbye WRAMC! You served us well.
David Peruski said:
I served in the ANC from 1985-1989 and was at WRAMC the entire time. I was on Ward 52 (neurology) and then worked on Ward 46 (Cardio-Thoracic ICU). WRAMC was a wonderful facility. General Mologne was the commanding officer at the time. He died unexpectedly and then General Clara Adams-Ender became the commanding officer. There were so many great things that happened at WRAMC that have impacted how we care for people even today. So many wonderful military and civilian workers that provided a very high standard of care for our military and their dependents.
Jim Stranahan said:
I was stationed there from 1983-1987.
I was a Cardiac Tech and worked in Cardiology and the Cath Lab on the 4th floor.
I did a lot of EKG’s on patients on Ward 46.
I remember General Mologne. He was a great commander. I was only 18 when I got stationed there and so I was friends with his daughters Amy and Mary. A friend of mine actually dated Mary for a short time.
I “grew up” in DC as a young soldier. My twin daughters were born there in 1986 and spent 3 months in the NICU.
Had a lot of fun in Abram’s Hall and the Club. I always though it strange that they had the club right in the middle of the barracks.
Needless to say, WRAMC was a big part of my life.
I will miss it!!!
Andrew Quick said:
Jim, my name is Andrew Quick I was stationed at WRAMC from 85 to 89. My best friend the first two years was a Specialist by the name of Mike Periera. The reason I mention this is he dated Amy for a short period of time. I knew Amy as well, they were a fine family and General Malone was a fine commander.
This article really brings back some great memories.
Did you play softball by chance
David Peruski said:
Hello Jim…for a period of time I was placed in the NICU which I believe was Ward 42. However, I do not think I was in Ward 42 during 1986. I’m sure two civilian nurses who worked there for a long time, Linda and Margaret, most likely took care of your twins. Andrew…I wonder if a Mike Periera worked on W52. It seems to me that one of our 91Bs was named Periera.
Joe Sparacino said:
I too served as an MP with the 236 Detachment, from 1976 – 1977.
Saw the new hospital being built, – so strange to see it abandoned now.
Thanks for the memories!
~ Joe Sparacino
Steve T said:
I was stationed there for my entire tour of duty, 236th MP Det. 77-80, plenty of memories, such a waste to see it just sit there going to waste.
Danial Landes said:
What a great walk down memory lane. My father served at WRAMC from 1971-1983 as the Director of Neonatal Medicine, Department of Pediatrics. We lived on base from 1973-1980. I have so man great childhood memories that only servicemen and servicewomen can appreciate…including the layers of cigarette smoke that filled the corridors, lol. Patients kept their smokes in the lapel pocket of their hospital gowns back then. I played catch in the hallway of the old hospital (the 2000 bed facility that most think of when they picture WRAMC was being built) with a Vietnam Veteran using a pack of Newports for the ball while he used a prosthetic metallic hook for a hand.
I was a free roaming kid with no worries those days, 200 acres of sentry guarded, MP patrolled playground. I could not have had a better childhood. Its heart wrenching to see it turn into condominiums, apartments, and shopping plazas.
This was our first assignment back in 1988-89. My husband who enlisted as a 91S is retiring in the next few months as a LTC. after nearly 30 yrs of service. He worked at the old WRAIR and our first daughter was born at WRAMC in July 1989. It’s almost hard to look at the pictures of this place so empty and quiet. The historical place where Walter Reed himself worked and discovered medical breakthroughs. So many of our nations Presidents have been there. Just so much history sitting empty. It’s sad that it’s not being used. The Bethesda /Walter Reed just doesn’t feel right to us or have the same feel and historical significance. Thanks for sharing these photos.
Walter Reed died at Ft McNair several years before the hospital was built. It was named after him to honor his work in military medicine. I served at the base in 1966, lab and blood bank tech.
wow, Wrote that in 2017, lol..almost surprised this blog/ message stream is still up. Yes, I am well aware it was named after him. I believe I was referring to the old WRAIR building, which was previously the main hospital. If not mistaken that historical building still stands and is a school of some sort now. We took pictures of the campus a year (give or take) before the other ( where daughter was born,) was imploded. Couldn’t go in anymore, as it was a construction site. Just a lot of neat history there.
I was hospitalized here from 1988-1989 after I broke my L2 on duty. So many friends made there. Not to mention all the staff who made sure that I walked again and had as normal a life as possible. Dr. Cruise, Dr. beaushane, and (nurse) Sgt. Anna Lutz. Too many people to thank to place here. But it is sad to see a place that brought so many heros through the unfathomable sit so quit and desolate. Thanks for sharing!! Too many memories made there for so many people to be ever be forgotten if it is to be gone.
Anna Lutz said:
Thanks for the kind words, after all these years! SSG Anna Lutz
Sgt. Lutz so happy to hear back! Thank you for everything. You made a big difference in a young lady from West Virginia’s life!! Forever grateful!
Anna Lutz said:
I remember you very well. What happened after you left WRAMC?
Sorry it took so long to get back. I went to school and became a nurse. Am a mother of 2 amazing kids ages 22 & 23. Have 1 perfect grandson whose 9 months. Still holding down the fort in WV. You changed my life and influenced me in so many great ways. Thank you for making a scared little girl become a brave young woman.
Larry B said:
I came here as an MP with a broken/paralyzed right Arm to be chaptered out, and by the Grace of God after 6 months, I regained use from a “severed” radial nerve. I stayed here and worked with the MPI/Detective Unit until I separated. I got out went to work with the Federal Government and came back as a Detective as soon as they made my position a “civilian” slot. GREAT memories here, did protective details for President Reagan and Bush Sr., the Prince of Saudi Arabia Bandar, all our Generals, the Presidents wives and most importantly met so many fine soldiers coming back from war with stories that I respected! WRAMC changed my life forever, and I saw things that I can never “unsee” as a law enforcement officer….that all LEO’s do, but started my career as a civilian federal LEO….
What a heart-filling collection of pictures and memories. I was a civilian with the dept of psychiatry,first at Forest Glen from 1978 to 80 and then in the new hospital from 1980 to 1984, and then with the Dept. of Pediatrics from 1984 to 88. I remember the change in relationships between staff and patients after the move from Forest Glen; suddenly there were guards at the doorways to the wards. On the other hand, patients coming in in the throes of a psychotic episode weren’t waking up to statues of Aphrodite on the porch! I was assistant chief of the art therapy section, working with Paula Howie, while Col. Jon Shaw was Chief of Psychiatry; then Col Chico Harden hired me as director of the child life section, and Col. Peter Zawadsky followed him on Pediatrics. Those years were so rich with wonderful people, hard work, great and difficult experiences. I have endless respect for the military delivery of medical care: you can come in a total train wreck and everything will be attended to. It is hard to understand how a “new” building can be crumbling apart now. And I too wish I had wandered about more – who knew there was a chapel or ballrooms! The memories will shine on; thanks for sharing these pictures.
I stumbled on your blog (now I may have to check out your book) while searching for pictures of old WRAMC to show my children. Army Nurse Corps 2006-2010 MICU. I have a hard to articulating my experiences there and how much those memories mean to me. I don’t think it is possible to ever work with such outstanding patients or co-workers again.
Richard W. Smith said:
My wife and I were married in the Post Chapel on March 2, 1973
Michelle Ford said:
Thank you for these pictures! I recently took my children to see Walter Reed but we unfortunately could not get in campus. So we took a picture at the gate. My husband was injured in 2009 and we were there between then and 2011. My twins were born while we were there and we lived in the fisher house. This place has a special meaning to us and it’s sad to see it all go. I remember you as well Adele! You were a great PT and we hope you’re doing well!
– Michelle Ford
So nice to get this from you Michelle! It was very timely – they knocked building two down last Monday (the 13th). Hope all is well with you and your family. With love – adele
Robert Amey said:
Can you tell me what happened to both Fisher Houses on the Georgia Ave Walter Reed .
I stayed there due to Service Connected Cancer in my spine and brain stem . From 1992 to 2005 I had several surgeries .
marcella stewart said:
My first duty station was WRAMC. I was a WRAIN graduate. I was there when we moved from the old hospital to the new hospital. I learned so much as a young nurse on ward 73. It breaks my heart that it is no longer an active hospital. Progress I guess.
Jim Stranahan said:
I was stationed there from Feb 1983 – Dec 1987. I worked in the Cardiology Clinic and Cath Lab on the 4th floor. My twin daughters were born there in Aug 1986 and only weighed 2 lbs each. The NICU staff really took good care of them for 3 months. They are both RN’s now, one is a Surgical Nursing Educator and the other is an ICU/ER RN.
I had so much fun there, living in Abram’s Hall and partying in the NCO club right in the middle of the barracks.
I miss WRAMC and all the great times I had there.
I believe if I hadn’t been stationed there that the outcome for my daughters would have been a lot different.
Kathleen Conneway said:
What will become of it?? So sad. A huge place. Any plans?
Thank you. I was at WRAMC on Georgia Avenue from February 1980 to November 1981. Sadly, my only surviving photo is a group department one at the front of the medical center. The blue sky and autumn colors in your photos are poignant. Than you again.
Ronald Boldt said:
I was stationed there worked in ER and Peds ER from April1986 until 1987.
Would take shortcut from old hospital to new one.
Delanio Hall was used as medical hold when I was there for the walking wounded.
AFIP was behind main hospital.
Under AFIP was the base bomb shelter.
DON HAINES said:
I WAS A HOSPITAL CORPSMAN ON WARD NINE (OFFICERS POST OP) AND LATER IN PSYCHIATRY WHICH WAS SEPERATE FROM THE MAIN HOSPITAL. TWO OF MY CHILDREN WERE BORN ON WARD 29. GENERAL St. John WAS THE FIRST COMMANDER I REMEMBER. I WAS STATIONED AT WALTER FROM 1959-63. IN CIVILIAN LIFE I BECAME A R.N. I STLL SEE WALTER REED AS THE BEST HOSPITAL I EVER WORKED IN. THE BEST FELLOW CORPSMAN I EVER WORKED WITH WAS RALPH SYNAKOWSKI, WHO WAS LATER A LIGHT COLONEL IN THE ARMY NURSE CORP.
SINCERELY, DON HAINES SP/5
Donna gardner said:
I think it is very said to see the empty building. I worked there for for almost 20 years in the dental clinic. What a waist of a good building.😂
Michael Kr said:
I worked at Ward 72 VIP Unit back in early 2000’s. What a Hospital! Never been anywhere like it since…..I miss the old WRAMC…..
Marie Smith said:
Sitting here reading all the comments I guess I will be the oldest person here. I came to Walter Reed Dec of 1970. WACS did not have barracks on Walter Reed. We were bussed to Forest Glen. It was like a beautiful dream to live among all the historic buildings. When I entered the front door from those columns this little girl of 18 had NO Idea what I would do or see. Since I only weighed 93lbs the Sgt that gave me my position told me I was going to work on the maternity ward. I told him he was crazy! I could have stayed home and done that. I had come to work with the men!!! So I worked Ward 31 which was on the back end of the main building. It was Neurology.SFC Rodriguez was my Ward master and Major Hill was the RN. Wow was she a hard woman to work for. I also worked Ward 33 which was known as the Open Heart Ward. Across the street from the back side of the original Walter Reed was the Closed Psychiatric building. Also worked the ER. If you Walked through the main doors and turned left then right there was a long hall that looked like it went straight up. Halfway up that hall on the left was another shorter hall that led to the Red Cross where a lot of patients could go and hang out. If you ever heard a humming noise off that hall you better plaster yourself against the wall! All the guys in wheelchairs would come flying down that hall to turn right and go to the mess hall! Will never forget General Colin F. Vorder Bruegge as our Commanding General. Him and his wife were very kind people.He lived in one of the historic houses right after you entered the gate off Georgia Avenue next door was another house just like it and General Westmoreland lived there when he was at the Pentagon. So many stories of times before the rest of you. If I knew how I could write a book on how many people touched my life at the original Walter Reed it was just amazing at what I got to do considering I was not supposed to be allowed in the Army because of my weight or lack of it!
Jerry Machin said:
Yep, I was there during ’70. I worked in training, errands and odd jobs, till I got my orders and went to Viet Nam. I also met and married my 1st wife there, she worked in
AFIP and also barracked in Forest Glen. Yes there are still memories from then.
Harold Wagner said:
Marie Smith, you brought all those funny and glorious memories right back to reality with your stories. I arrived there not long after you, but i was 21 at the time. Weren’t those grand buildings as you entered the base, just as the hospital itself was? And those wheelchair races were something to behold, or run down with!! But the daily sights of our guys strolling the halls and ramps, day and night, with unforgettable wounds, amputations, and injuries just seep through my entire body, mind, and memories. I was stationed at WRAMC in 1971. I was a medic on the Open Heart Surgery Ward, Ward 33, Capt. Ankerson was the Head Nurse, and she was tough and demanding. But she had everyone pulling together to help all of us learn what to do, and to do it right. She was just a wonderful officer and nurse, as were all the officers and nurses i met there. I also did stints on some combat medical wards taking care of soldiers with wounds from Vietnam. How delicate life is was evident everyday while working here. I learned about the horror of war and how truly tragic, deadly, and lasting it was for our guys and gals on the wards at WRAMC. The hospital was such a beautiful and grand facility. I learned more about taking care of people, medical procedures, and urgent care which would stay with me for the rest of my life. In some cases these ideas helped me to deal with and treat people in many situations throughout my life. Everyone I came in contact with was so professional and giving. Everyone was so consumed with doing their for their patients and getting them on their way to succeed in life as best they could. There is a special place in my heart for the people who worked there, were patients there, and the aura and beauty of the hospital itself.
I was stationed at WRAMC FROM 1972-1982. Came out of Vietnam as an Infantry medic, 91B, worked ar several wards and clinics including Forest Glen until I finally decided Radiology was my field to be. They sent me to Nuclear Medicine school at Bethesda Naval and I retired in 1992. Best food I ever ate was from the food service trucks for the construction workers which came in when they started building the new Walter Reed. Two children born in the old building,Parking for military and civilians was a nightmare. I parked off post for years until they made the nearby streets resident only parking, which only complicated things.
I was stationed at WRAMC from 1964-1966 and was assigned to the ASO as the NCOIC, so many came though at that time. I assisted Gen Eisenhower the last time he was admitted.
Ivan Justiniano - Sgt. J said:
Wao!! So many memories!! I was stationed there and worked on Ward 73 before being assigned as NCOIC of the OR. Circa ’89 – ’91. Thank you for the trip down memory lane!!
Suzanne Erkel said:
I was stationed there from 81 to 86. I worked in institute if research. My last name was Lorenz. I’d always hoped to go visit it again.
I was stationed there, from 79 to 80, working out of the Sr. Ch. Wardmaster’s Office.
Worked in the office with SGM Williams, MSG Evans, MSG Lamb & PFC Gordy.
It was my first assignment in the Army.
I was a patient in the mental health building, 18 years old, in March 1970 – September 1970.
Kristy Jensch said:
So you were at Forest Glen? And the statues of Greek goddesses holding up the veranda? Hope you had a good experience there. It was so much less “ strach” than the main hospital when we moved over there.
john perry said:
Are those live monkeys in the trees? Who feeds them?
Osvaldo Torres said:
I arrived to WRAMC as a patient from Korea on February 1982 ward 64 urology. After my surgery and medical board, went back to duty and later reassigned to work at the Medical Holding Co. at the hospital. I was there until my ETS Sept 24 1983. MG Enrique Méndez Jr. was the commanding General a home boy from Santurce, Puerto Rico!
Linda Cordle said:
My father was in the Army and stationed at WRAMC from 1953 thru 1963. Very unusual to be in one place for that long. He worked in the administration part. My brothers and I were very fortunate to grow up there. I was so sad to see what had happened to the old Walter Reed. So many great memories there. Four years ago we honored our father’s wishes and he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. My family is planning a trip up there as soon as it’s safe to travel again. Thank you for stirring up memories from my childhood.
I was a patient in Ward 54 (psych unit) in the spring of 1989 when I was 19 (dependent of a retired Army guy). It was such a powerful, supportive environment and helped me recover from a debilitating depression. I remember my time there vividly. There was a social worker there who helped me come to terms with myself and accept my authenticity and I’m forever grateful to him. I also had a great psychiatrist and support team. Amazing place, amazing memories from something that could have bee awful.
Sallie Cougill said:
I was a military wife whose husband was assigned to the Pentagon in 1980 and at the age of 34 , with 3 and 8 year old sons, i suffered a spontaneous massive cerebral hemorrhage. I was taken to Andrews AFB by my husband then to Walter Reed where I ended up on an operating table and was blessed to have a young neurosurgeon named Dr. Bernard Robinson as my surgeon. My surgery was around 10 hours during which time Dr Robinson found a congenital birth defect that was a snarled mass of blood vessels we had no idea was there. During the surgery my heart stopped twice and I was blessed to have had an amazing near death experience that is beyond our human comprehension. I was left with many LD problems, a seizure disorder, loss of vision for driving, etc. With all these challenges I still consider my hemorrhage and the death experience the greatest gift I have ever received. My husband who was a Lt. Col at the time ended up being an AF brigadier general and all those moves were a challenge that I am not sure I could have gotten through had it not been the wonderful gift of assurance I experienced on that operating table.
We are happily retired (1992) in a small IL town Our sons are now 44 and soon to be 49, with lovely wives and beautiful young children who are the joy of our lives now. I have thanked my Lord daily for putting me at Walter Reed where Dr. Robinson was on duty that fateful day.
I found this site while doing research for a book review I will present to the women in my reading circle on March 19th. It is WALTER REED DOCTOR IN UNIFORM by L.N. Wood, published in 1943 that I happened across at a library book sale.
Needless to say, I have a great affection and thankfulness for Walter Reed in my heart and to anyone reading this who may have been associated with Walter Reed, I will say thank you and may God bless you as he has blessed me.
I still have Walter Reed AMC blue scrubs. I did my first 5 min mile run around the building. Capt. Morning, still my inspiration for what a truly wonderful human being we all can be. Broke my heart to see the building so alone and empty. Great folks, great lessons, great memories. Thank you WRAMC!
Fred Ephstein said:
So Scary. Lived there, worked there in Orthopedics. 1989-1999 Active and Reserves. 3 different careers, 91H, 91C and RN/BSN. JTK
Humberto Rapado said:
Great pics and memories. I was at WRAMC with the 236th MP Detachment from October 1969 to October 1970 and left when I got orders to go to S. Korea. Traveled to DC in the early 80s and tried to visit WRAMC, went to the Georgia Ave. gate but they had security or DOD offeicer there and could not go in.
MSG Sherman Wilder, Retired said:
I SSG Sherman Wilder worked as the NCOIC for the 7th Floor Administration Support Division, my OIC was LTC Bernard L. Gore, Jr., I received the District of Columbia 1983 Hospital Service Award For Distinguished Service. I was assigned from 1981 to 1984, Major General Lewis A. Mologne, MD was my Commander of WRAMC and he was a wonderful and great man!
I worked at WRAMC from 2004 to 2006. I met my wonderful husband there. We are still happily married and we have not left the area. We live near the Blairs in Silver Spring and drive by where WRAMC used to be often. We miss it, so many good memories. A lot of construction is going on and now looks so different. I wonder what happened to the small museum that was behind the hospital?
It’s always more about the people than the places, and what we like to think of as an “era” really is defined just by our personal context. The constant shuffle of great and ordinary Americans eagerly arriving and later departing allowed for rich experiences and the forging of friendships.
But when the infrastructure that was the basis and foundation for the human interaction is destroyed or altered, it seems to serve as a sad reminder of things that have transpired in our lives, yet are forever gone or significantly altered.
It has us doing searches and hoping to find an expressed thought with potential emotional revival. Are others as sentimental, or just me; one can wonder.
I worked in CT Surgery on active duty with some great folks in the early 90’s, and later as a contractor in 1999.
The best part was meeting my wife while there, and we have great memories of faces and places, with some of the familiar environs seen in the blog pics.
We live in Delaware, and will eventually get over tho the altered site and see if there remains something we can laugh or cry over.
Rob Amey said:
I was a patient at WRAMC for years . I spent over a year there fighting cancer . My wife stayed at the Fisher House . My second son was conceived there . My medical board was there . Worked there until it was done . Between the old Neurosurgery and Physical Med wards .
Besides the cancer I had a good time there .
Three years of my life . Poof .
Billy Fairchild said:
Hi, I served 93-97 on Ward 41 (Step down) and Ward 40 (CCU) as a 91C.
I was given a large photo of WRAMC as a pcs farewell. Unfortunately it was destroyed by water damage.
Do you have any way to help me locate that photo? It was taken from the air of Heaton Hall in the front of photo.
Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
if you search Getty Images you can find pictures. Also there is a centennial book of photographs that you can find on Amazon. Here is the link and also a picture
Walter Reed Army Medical Center Centennial: A Pictorial History, 1909-2009 https://a.co/d/i6vqZIt
Terri Ohlinger said:
Brings back a lot of memories. My first duty station as a new nurse/LT ward 71 Hem/Onc 1990-1994. I loved everyone there and learned so much. Rubynell Jordan has always been in my heart as my inspiration for being a nurse with integrity.