Fort Laramie in Goshen County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
The Post Hospital
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
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.
The 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
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.
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 42° 12.323′ N, 104° 33.435′ W. Marker is in Fort Laramie, Wyoming, in Goshen County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 160, on the left. Touch for map. Marker is located at Fort Laramie National Historic Site. Marker is in this post office area: Fort Laramie WY 82212, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Rustic Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); Cavalry Barracks (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Rustic Hotel “ . . . No Second-Rate Affair” (about 400 feet away); The Cavalry Stables (about 400 feet away); Noncommissioned Officers’ Quarters (about 400 feet away); ‘Where’s the Wall?’ The Sutler’s House (about 500 feet away); Fort Laramie National Historic Site (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Laramie.
More about this marker. The bottom of the marker contains a photograph of the “South side of the Fort Laramie Post Hospital, c 1880.”
Also see . . . Fort Laramie National Historic Site. (Submitted on August 12, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Forts, Castles •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 12, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 194 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 12, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.