Bird's Eye View of Fort Whipple


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Unknown B. B. Shimonowsky & Bros. bug547p.jpg BU-G-547 Sepia 1403.0547.0000 bug547p Print 16x20+ Historic Photographs 1905-1912 Reproduction requires permission. Digital images property of SHM Library & Archives

Description

Fort Whipple was a U.S. Army post which served as Arizona Territory's capital prior to the founding of Prescott, Arizona. It was named after Amiel Weeks Whipple, a Civil War Union General. The post was founded by Edward Banker Willis in December 1863  in Del Rio Springs, but was moved in May 1864 to a miner's tent settlement called Granite City (also Granite Dells, Gimletville), which was on higher ground, had better access to lumber, and the military could better protect miners. The capital was placed 2 miles south in the new city of Prescott founded in 1864.

By 1895 the place was dilapidated, and in 1897 scheduled for deactivation, but in 1898 the US declared war on Spain, and 200 troops were recruited and sent east to the Spanish–American War. The Fort was inactive until 1905 when new buildings were constructed and four companies (about 500 soldiers) moved in, which were not needed after Arizona became a state in 1912, and the place was deserted except for a maintenance crew. In 1918 during World War I, the Army reactivated Fort Whipple as a hospital for respiratory illnesses, many with tuberculosis (TB) and soldiers injured by nerve gas. It had 22 buildings and 900 sick beds. The property was transferred to the US Public Health Service, and in 1931 to the Veterans Administration, renamed Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Prescott. In 2004 it was renamed the Bob Stump Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, after Congressman Stump, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

Along with being a hospital, the fort still has buildings on the hills nearby, which once served as the officers quarters. Now, the buildings are homes to nurses and doctors of the hospital.

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