Portsmouth Naval Hospital

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Originally known as the Norfolk Naval Hospital, this famous facility in the city of Portsmouth was an outgrowth of the 1798 Congressional act creating the Marine Hospital Service. Fort Nelson, a Revolutionary War defense work guarding the Norfolk harbor, was chosen as the hospital site in 1826. The architect, John Haviland of Philadelphia, produced a preeminent work of Greek Revival institutional architecture. The decastyle Doric portico, finished in what Haviland described as “chisel dressed Virginia freestone,” is a masterpiece of monumentality. Distinctive are the narrow frieze windows forming the triglyphs. The shallow dome capping the operating room was added during a 1907 expansion. The Portsmouth Naval Hospital has had a distinguished record of service, treating naval casualties of every American conflict since its opening. Now flanked by modern hospital facilities in Portsmouth, Haviland’s original structure underwent a careful rehabilitation at the end of the 20th century.

Last Updated: November 20, 2023

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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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