From the west side porch of the Lincoln Building your stroll takes you up the hillside to the ruins of the Revolutionary War era hospital. The original structure was built in 1777-78 and was the only hospital commissioned by the Continental Congress to be built during the Revolutionary War. Known as Washington Hall, the building housed a spa hotel (1781-1865), classrooms (Soldiers’ Orphans School, 1869-1912), an art studio (Country School, 1916-1952), and a film production studio (Good News Productions, 1952-1974) in subsequent eras.
After a fire in 1902, Washington Hall was rebuilt, but a final fire in 1962 destroyed the site. Historic Yellow Springs stabilized the ruins and the Philadelphia Unit of the Herb Society of America installed an authentic 18th century medicinal herb garden above the site. In 1987, both were dedicated as a Revolutionary War Memorial during the “We the People 200” celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Constitution.
“As usual I was ‘packed’ in wet sheets early this morning for about two hours, when I perspired freely, under the warm influences of sundry blankets comforts and a feather bed, – all pressed and squeezed tight and close around me. Upon rising, or rather upon being raised up from this vapour bath, I walk to a deep very cold plunge bath, – when I suddenly am stripped of my blankets, and then instantly jump into the water, head foremost…”
July 19, 1847, letter from a patient, John Knight, to his wife describing his treatment at the refurbished old hospital building.