Dickie Bell, community dedicate marker recognizing Woodrow Wilson General Hospital
Delegate Dickie Bell and members of the community gathered Friday to dedicate a historical marker memorializing the Woodrow Wilson General Hospital.
Delegate Bell worked with Robert Ham and Augusta County Historical Society Board Member Nancy Sorrells to apply for this marker through the Department of Historical Resources. The marker was approved by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources at its meeting on Thursday, March 16 and installed earlier this week. The marker sits on the campus of the Wilson Rehab and Workforce Rehabilitation center, directly across from the Valley Career and Technical Center.
The text of the marker reads as follows:
Woodrow Wilson General Hospital
The U.S. Army, needing stateside medical facilities during World War II, broke ground for Woodrow Wilson General Hospital here in June 1942. Named for the former U.S. president born in nearby Staunton, the hospital consisted of about 135 single-story brick buildings with 2.5 miles of sheltered walkways. In June 1943, the first of more than 4,000 sick and wounded military personnel arrived by train. The complex was declared surplus in 1946, and the Commonwealth of Virginia repurposed part of it in 1947 as the nation’s first state-owned comprehensive rehabilitation facility for disabled individuals. The rest of the complex became part of the Augusta County public school system.
“The history of Woodrow Wilson General Hospital is unknown by many in our community. This marker and the monument dedicated last May take a step in helping our community remember this hospital and the sacrifices made by those who came here for treatment” said Delegate Bell. “We have a duty and an obligation to keep the soldiers treated here in every conversation about World War II. Woodrow Wilson General Hospital made a significant contribution to the area. Many patients stayed in the area after their treatment to work and raise their families, and some families remain in the area today. It’s only appropriate that we recognize and remember the hospital for its impact on our community. I would also like to thank Robert Ham and Nancy Sorrells for their work on this marker. Without their help it would not have been possible.”
Also participating in today’s dedication were Mr. Robert Ham, Augusta County Historical Society Board Member Nancy Sorrells, Aubrey Von Lindern, Architectural Historian for the Northern Regional Preservation Office of the Department of Historical Resources, Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center Director Rick Sizemore, and Augusta County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bond.
Elected to the House of Delegates in 2009, Delegate Bell represents the 20th District, which includes Highland County, portions of Augusta and Nelson counties, and the Cities of Staunton and Waynesboro. He is currently serving in his fourth term.