Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Philadelphia Naval Hospital






Photos © 2001 by Brian Bennett. All rights reserved, use without permission and credit is prohibited. Permission is granted to those using photos in personal blogs where no financial gain is made from sale or use of these photos.

That slick site you now see west of Broad Street on Pattison Avenue wasn't always a practice facility for the Philadelphia Eagles. What's now known as the "Novacare Complex" (corporations get to buy their way into naming just about everything sports related these days) was once the Philadelphia Naval Hospital. Younger folks will remember it as an old building that seemed to stand vacant, gathering cobwebs and dust. But for us who have a few years behind us, we know that it was a premier facility for treating troops of every military service during the Vietnam War. This hospital had one of the top programs for prosthetic limbs nationwide, and some of the top surgeons in that field. Today, it's just a memory. Which brings us to this post.

I remember back during it's heyday my uncle Pat was a patient at the Naval Hospital. He suffered from advanced lung cancer, succumbing to it in the late 1960s. Uncle Pat was a master sergeant in the US Air Force stationed in Dover, DE at the base there. Out of tragedies come good things, and the one good thing that came out of his illness was that we got to meet my aunt Ruby and my cousins. My brother, sister, and I had not yet met them until his illness brought him go Philly.

Being able to get on the grounds of the hospital as a kid with their family, you could see it was a big, busy place. And while it was a place where people went because of suffering wounds and illnesses, you could see it was a grand art-deco structure. Buildings like that just aren't made today. At best you get faux art-deco with a lot of glass and steel, but not the real McCoy.

I went to watch the end of the Philadelphia Naval Hospital, to witness the implosion that would bring it down. I've always seen implosions on TV, but this one was in walking distance from my home, so I just had to go and photograph it. Well, the best laid plans of mice and men sometimes go awry. For me, it happened at the hands of an ignorant, misinformed Philadelphia Police officer. That woman made my set plans go awry.

I had it all scoped out. I had checked out vantage points earlier in the week, finding a great spot at 16th & Packer Avenue. There you could see straight down to the hospital with an unobstructed view, dead-on. Firing quickly, I could have captured the fall of that building and had a great sequence of shots. As I set up my tripod and started mounting the camera, Officer Know-It-All came up to me and told me I had to move. As she told it, the area I chose was the viewing area for former hospital employees and neighbors. Yet there were no viewing stands, no police lines, no nothing to indicate it was an official area of any type. An older man came to join me and wanted to witness the implosion from that site too. Again, our erstwhile officer tells us we'd have to go, repeating that only neighbors and former employees could stand there. "Plus", she said, "someone standing here could be hurt". Whether she was talking about from flying debris, the concussion of the blast, or her own foolishness remained to be seen. Just as I was about to protest, the older gentleman said, "What about you? Are you going to stand here and risk getting hurt?" She wasn't pleased. I set her over the top when I asked her why neighbors and ex-employees would be put in harms way. "If you don't get out of here right now, I'm waving that (police) wagon over and you're both going to the police station!" she yelled. What to do? If we stay, we're going into the wagon, and we miss the implosion. Best just to move on down the road.

I made my way over to Broad & Geary, finding a spot to watch, but not a great one. It would have to do, as we were only a few minutes away from zero hour. I didn't even have time for the tripod, I would have to shoot hand-held and risk movement, or else lose the shot. And so, we watched the fall of a great institution on that early spring Saturday morning, June 9, 2001. The few memories I have of that place are etched in my mind, and the few photos of the implosion are found here.

AND YOU MAY REMEMBER...

...The Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in it's heyday. The yard still stands, although not as a military facility. As time marches on, more businesses are occupying the Naval Business Center and the Kavaerner shipyard (or whoever runs it now) continues to slowly crank out ships. Thousands of men and women worked there during WWII building and maintaining warships. Now the only naval ships are those mothballed waiting to become razor blades or whatever else they'll someday use the scrap for.

...The Defense Support & Supply Center - aka "The Quartermaster" complex. Another once-extremely busy military facility. You could stand on the corner of 20th & Oregon and watch bus after bus full of employees empty out and huge masses of bodies stream towards the gates on any given morning. There they made and distributed things like uniforms, medical supplies, and battlefield rations for our troops. The center made it to the presidential list of facilities for base excellence, as it was recognized for it's efficiency and quality. Recognition sometimes means nothing. A year after Bill Clinton recognized it, the government announced it would close, and since has. Now the center has become a retail shopping center at 23rd St. and a light industrial/manufacturing area. Some of the base still remains vacant to this day.

93 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was stationed in Philly for 2 years while the Lasalle went thru overhaul. I remember spending many nights in the park by RFK, eating strombolis from Philly and Cheese Steaks from Blind Mans on the base.

My sisters where actually born at the hospital in the late 1950's.

Brian said...

Thanks for your comment. If you've not been to Philly since that time, you'd find that a lot has changed here since you were stationed here. Not the food of course, Philadelphia will always be the cheesesteak and soft pretzel capital of the world.

Robert said...

I was stationed at the Naval Hospital from 1980-1982 and have very fond memories of my time there. I drove past the closed Naval Hospital and saw the overgrown shrubs, broken windows and was truly heartbroken. Most people will never know that under the existing pavement once stood a majestic hospital that served her country well.

HBO Joe said...

HM3 Joe: Was stationed at the Naval Hospital as a Navy Corpsman from December '71 to October '72. A lot of memories. Just flew into Phila for the first time since '75 & it really looks different. A lot of memories & friendships were forged in those 10 mos. When 1st reporting, she looked austere, & intimidating; but she became home.

Larry said...

I was a neuropsychiatric technician and hospital corpsman at the naval hospital for over 3 years (9/69 to 12/72). I remember the amputees "running" wild in their wheelchairs, the psychotics marching to meals in their distinctive Eisenhower pajamas, and the drug subculture that raged rampant in the psychiatric area known as the T-ramp. Ah, what fond memories I have of those exciting days during the Viet Nam Conflict.

Jeff Ashner said...

I wa a corpsman in 68 and 69 before there was a vets stadium. Great times

If anyones knows the whereabouts of a corpsman named Bob Moran e mail me at fineok48@aol.com

Thanks an all be well
Go Navy

james said...

I was a Corpsman at NHP from 89-92. As my first duty station, I loved the place. I first thought it was the ugliest place. Fell back in love with the place after I left. Too bad it's gone, would love to back and see the place after 20 years.

Anonymous said...

I was a patient at the Philly Naval Hospital in '71, MedEvaced from Okinawa. I was in a Neurosurgery ward being evaluated, and when I checked in, there was an older Navy vet in the ward, pretty far gone with cancer...he had regressed to a baby-like mentality, and was sticks and bones...but after 16:30, everyone would pull their chairs down to his rack and watch TV with him...10 or 12 of us, plus Corpsmen and nurses...and his wife...I was pretty awestruck about the family way everyone behaved...One day, when I came back from Rehab, the TV was gone and his rack was empty...A couple days later, his wife came back and thanked us all for being there for them...

There was such great love at that Hospital...Amputees playing touch football...the City people welcoming all of us veterans...Free sports tickets for the Hospital...I went to see the Roller Derby once; it was great! The announcer [Elmer?] got so excited by a fight that broke out that he started hitting an opposing player with his microphone!

The hospital was in a great location, too...You could take a bus to the subway, then to a trolley car...Friendly police, they went to great lengths to cut vets some slack...

I spent 12 weeks there, and thought of it as a great duty station...When I flew in to the airport a few years back and took a cab to Camden, I went right by where it used to be...I was shocked to see only a sea of asphalt...I asked the cabbie what happened to the hospital, he didn't even know there'd been one there...Sad...

Brian said...

Thanks for sharing, and Merry Christmas. Your telling us of the care of the men toward the cancer patient comes on such an appropriate night, Christmas eve.

So many of the cab drivers here now are foreigners who probably have no idea what went on at the Naval Hospital site or what was even there. When they built the Eagles training center there, they should have built a memorial at the front gate, or something to remind us that a premier hospital for our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen once stood there. Not doing so was an utter failure on the city's and military's part.

Gene said...

I was stationed at the Phila. Naval Hospital from mid 1970 to the end of 1972. I was a DT3 and worked in the dental surgical unit, spent alot of time working up in the MOR.
I met some great people-- Craig Joans, Bob McKelvie Ed McCall,Susie Gill and a wonderful civillan nurse Irene Matthews. I will never forget the way Mrs. Matthews looked at me the day I dropped a bone graft for a transplant.I thought for sure I was going to be KIA by the Capt. I worked for.
I must say that I felt sick when I heard the hospital was gone.I could go on with many more stories about my time there. The baseball games across the street on Wed. after field day, with a keg of beer in my trunk,the free tickets to the Spectrum, going to a Jewish delie for Reubins and beer. I love the memories.
Thanks for this site,It is nice to see the pictures and read the comments
Gene Bernhardt

Joe Urda said...

What a rush of memories after reading your Blog and the comments.

I was stationed at USNHPhila from 67-68. Was sent there out of Corps School as a NeuroPhych Tech. Spent about 3 months working on the Phych wards and then when they found that I was a funeral director, was sent to pathology where I worked surgical and autopsy pathology.

While on the T-wing I was working with another Corpsman by the name of Ron Davis. Ron ended up going FMF and lost an arm in Nam. I have spent the last 40 years trying to find him without any luck. If anyone remembers him, I sure would like to hear from you. Ron is African American and I think he came from New Jersey.

I too have been back to the site where the hospital stood and have to admit that I had tears in my eyes when I thought of the thousands of patients who passed through those gates.

After two years at Philly I was sent to run the Far East Mortuary at Yokosuka and finished out my Navy years there. Got 3 month early out in 1969.

I'll keep an eye on this blog to see if there are any contacts that may come up. Maybe a reunion could be put together.

Take care and keep up the good work.

Joe Urda
HM2

Chad said...

I just found this post. I was stationed at NAVHOSPHILA from 90 to 92. I actually rappelled down the side of the main building one Saturday. While I was there I hated the command but loved Philly and the people I was stationed with. Sad to see the place gone now.

Anonymous said...

I as stationed at the hospital on the NeuroPsych ward (T-ramp)from 64-66. Met my wife there & still married to her 43 yrs later. Lots of good memories. I went to Google Earth & went to the 'Street View' where the hospital used to be. It was like an old friend was gone.

Shortstop said...

I was stationed at Philly from Feb.
1957 to July 1958. Half that time was at 3B, the dirty orthopedic's
ward. Man, protheics have made gigantic improvements since then.
Army / Navy game was at Vets S/E corner Broad 'n Pattison. Connie Mack stadium was up on N. Broad.
Horn and Hardart automat downtown was close to Wanamakers with the hugh organ. The best sandwich in town was a Hoagie from a one-man, edge of the sidewalk stand on Broad
N of Pattison. 45 cents bought a 1/2 Amerosa roll, onions, peppers,
Provalone, grilled eye of round and
a Pepsi. A meal for 45 cents.
I had my first lobster at Bookbinders in old-old Phily. Many good memories. Shipped out to Field Med School at Pendelton and had to learn to live with palm trees and ocean breezes and tacos.

Jim said...

Hello, I was born there in 1951. My Dad was stationed there when I was born. I wonder if anyone knew him there? His name was Fred Charles Allford. He died when I was only 4/5 yrs old and he died at the age of 27. I would love to hear from someone that knew him. My e-mail address is: jimallford@gmail.com I pray I'll be hearing from someone that knew him. Peace, Jim

Anonymous said...

I was stationed at the Hospital from 78-80. The day I arrived we had to transfer some wards from the upper floors down to the 3rd to 5th floors. I guess we weren't supposed to have any patients above the 5th. I enjoyed my time there. All of the sudden a few years ago, I was watching TV and they were showing implosions and I said I recognize that building. I worked there. What a surprise I didn't know they were imploding it. It was a great place. And a great location.

Devera said...

I was station at the Naval Hopsital in 1982-83 as a Corpsman. I loved it. Watched fireworks from the top of the female barriacks, spent a lot of time in the park across the street. Patients in the psych wards would scare the heck out of me...most of them would come down to the mess hall and knocked up on thorazine. Always something to do around Philly...the train right down the road...LOTS of memories at that place. Sad to see it go. ..... D. Davis

Jim Dewey (The Admiral) said...

Just found this link to the USNH#5 and in reading the comments brought back a lot of fond memories. I was stationed there as a Corpsman and went through Operating Room school in 1962. Ended up in the Lab. teaching Microbiology until 1966. My wife was a civilian RN in dependents area and our first child was born there in 1964. Would love to hear from anyone from that era. jdeweysr@aol.com

Jim Dewey (The Admiral)

John Patterson said...

I was stationed there from Nov. 84 to May 88.
My only duty station due to Reagan. The place
was getting creepy because it was already being
shut down. Lots of empty buildings and rooms.
I worked the ER during LIVE AID which was down
the street.

txvoodoo said...

I just found this page. I was born at the hospital in 1962. My dad was stationed there from 59 to 65 as a hospital corpsman.

I had NO idea they'd blasted it down completely!

Jim Langhoff said...

This is great reading all of these post. I too was stationed here from 1970 to 1972 - I was a Corpsman working in the ICU and OR/Recovery Room. I didn't appreciate the hospital at the time, but am appreciating it more since. I met my wife here as she was also stationed there. In 1972 I left for Camp Pendleton's 1st MarDiv. If anyone knows Ron Warner, I'd like to get in touch with him again (contact jlanghof@clearwire.net). Know it's a long shot, but what the heck.

Terry Quintin said...

My wife and I visited Philly about 4 years ago. Saw that the hospital was gone. I was there from Sep 70 to Aug 72 before going FMF. Worked SOQ-11, EKG and Cardio-pulmonary Lab. The nurses, doctors and corpmen were great. Lots of memories, parties and softball across the street in the park. Great food. Great memories.

Brian said...

My apologies to the few of you who posted lately without being published. I checked the moderator page tonight and found your posts, not realizing they were there.

Thanks for sharing your memories, this is by far the most popular page on this blog and I'm so glad that all you veterans are willing to tell us about your experiences at Philadelphia Naval Hospital.

Carol said...

I was born in the US Navy Hospital in Philadelphia on July 11, 1946. My father had just gotten out of the Navy after WWII.

It's always been a source of pride for me that I was born there. So sad that it's gone.

lorencathy@aol.com said...

I arrived at Naval Hospital Philadelphia in 1969 from Camp Lejeune. The first 4 or 5 months were on Ward 6 (Proctology and Vascular Surgery), then went to Neuropsychiatric Technician School at the hospital. Spent about two years on the neurology ward (T-18?), which is where I made HM2 and was senior corpsman. After training at Navy Instructor School in Norfolk, I came back to Philly to be enlisted instructor for LCDR Johnson at NP Tech School. HM3 Dane Romberger from Colorado and I shared an appartment on the other side of Roosevelt Park for a year. Left the Navy in December 1972, went back to college, been a psychologist in Florida ever since.

A bunch of us came to the NP service at around the same time and served together for 2 or 3 years. It was really a family there. Visiting hours began at 3 p.m. and ended at 9:00. Patients' families would bring food on the wards and share with everybody, sometimes we'd go off base for dinner with patients' and occasionally with their families. Once we had a Marine on the ward who was in an outlaw Philly motorcycle gang. Bunches of the gang members would come on the ward in their colors to visit him. They always acted respectfully and left when visiting hours ended. The first time the gang visited, a bunch of security and some HM1s and HMCs stayed in the hallway for a couple hours, then left. We never had a problem with the gang members. They'd spend time with other patients while they were there.

New Years Eve, off-duty corpsmen would visit whoever had the night duty and share a little libation. I never saw a corpsman drunk or drugged on duty in the NP service while I was at NH Philly, although it might have happened elsewhere in the hospital.

It was a great experience.

Larry in Tallahassee

John Caudy said...

Arrived at the Philly Naval Hospital in early 1966 as a HM3. Was assigned to SOQ, and a few months later to the amputee ward as a senior ward corpman. Most all of the patients were marines. I remember many trips with the marines, in wheel chairs, to a bar next to the hospital, (don't remember name ). There was a corpsman from Binghamton, NY, who worked in the Psych ward, who I met during my stay. I left in late 1966 for Argentia, Newfoundland. Lots of good memories. Very sad the hospital is gone.

Anonymous said...

We used to go to a restaurant with a name like Primrose Cafe or Melrose Cafe. There was a tavern near the hospital whose name I can't recall. They had a sign next to the door and another inside that said something like "No colors allowed." I thought it was some kind of racist junk but a guy said it referred to motocycle gang colors. There was a little hoagie place a couple blocks up Broad from the hospital that made cheese steaks and was really popular among folks at the hospital, maybe in part because of all those "hoagie queens" (term for teenage local girls) who visited there. A house I lived in at 333 Dickenson was in a neighborhood that blended 1st and 2nd generation Italian-Americans, Hasidic Jews, and sailors. There was a deli down the street that had the most wonderful aroma on the planet.

Larry in Tallahassee

chupacabra said...

I was there in 76 and remember Blind Man's well. The way he counted change and caught shoplifters was amazing. I have often wondered if there was really a Blind Mans while telling sea stories about it. Thanks to the Google it turns out I really did remember.

threefairiesmine said...

My husband was stationed at the hospital in "76-"78.A great place to be for the bi-cenntinial.
I miss it.
Ruth

Anonymous said...

I was stationed at phila. 1957 to 1959 was corpsmen,on wards 4B & t18. Married girl from phila.and have lived here for the rest of my life .Thtimes and friends will never be forgotten.

JackTracy said...

I was a corpsman at the hospital in 1945 and '46, where my principal station was the blood bank, where we took patients' blood samples and even contributions from voluntary blood donors who were in the navy brig at the nearby navy yards.

I still have so many fond memories of that time, including discovering a food new to me, pizza (pie) at the South Philly restaurant named Doc's Sportsman's Club.

I will never forget downtown Philadelphia on VJ Day; I had liberty that night and enjoyed being among the mass of people who gathered in the streets to celebrate the end of WW II.

Jack Tracy

Mitchell said...

My first duty station after FMF 1968-1969 then to D/1/1 Viet Nam.
Worked Ward E and Ward F out on the ramp. What fantastic memories, most good, some not so good. Finished up 30 years later.
HMCS(FMF)(SS)(Ret).

Anonymous said...

Just found this site. I attended NP "C" school at NAVHOSP Phila early 1961 and remained there as staff NP Tech until December 1963eventually serving as senior corpsman of T-18. So many fond and not so fond memories. remember Sharkey's Bar and the Dolphin Club. Easy to get a drink if you were under age. If you were there please e-mail

Brian said...

Sharkey's has been gone for a number of years now, replaced by an Italian restaurant that has great food. The Dolphin is still up at Broad & Tasker though, after all these years.

Joe Urda said...

Here is another comment avenue regarding the USNH Philly. Do a Group search for Philadelphia Naval Hospital on Facebook.

MC Private said...

I just found this website. It brought back memories. I was there for 3 months while a Marine, in late Summer 1971. What a culture shock.

I remember the Med Evac bus from McGuire.

I remember being told to watch out for the wheelchairs, and having to dodge a few. I remember an amputee who wanted to put a bomb in the Marine Liason's typewriter. Sure made me appreciate how lucky I really was.

I remember an anti-war protest in the park across the street, and meeting girls from the protest at the fence. They didn't like the war, but they loved servicemen.

I remember the Blue Dolphin Bar, hitting every bar within a block of Broad St. on the way back. Having a bar maid ask if I should be drinking (I guess the wristband was a give-away). And then, only remembering bits and pieces of my first liberty.

Great corpsmen, nurses and doctors. Made some friends who I have long since lost track of.

Great memories.

I'm sorry to hear they tore it down.

Jim said...

I was stationed at the Naval Base in 1958 and remember may good times in Philly. There was a hang-out, I believe on Market street, that I think was named Ellis's Orange Drink. Everyone seemed to show up there at all hours 24-7. Lots of fun and memories. Would like to reconnect.

John Ferris said...

I was stationed at PNRMC as the last Internal Medicine Intern at the facility. I was Air Force, and was assigned there to report July 1 1976. The Navy had 18 interns assigned when they told the Air Force to send me there, but the Navy decided to disband the internship program and forgot to tell the Air Force. I showed up for duty to their surprise. Dr. Chappelka had no clue what to do with me... and since they were all celebrating the bicentennial that week my first "duty" was to take a week off and come back.
Fond memories of that year... HIPPA regulations preclude mentioning the memorable patients by name, but a certain Admiral Halsey's houseboy who spent years at PNRMC following a stroke can never be forgotten. Lt. jg. Betty Devlin, Lt jg. Andrea Church, and Lt.jg. Cynthia Hott were all very special. Drs. Stephen Pershing and Ron Miller were my idols! Corpsman Innocenti, Santannuci and Jimmy Pearl were of immesurable help to this young Air Force doc. they nicknamed Hawkeye.
I miss you all... great times that made my life immesurably richer.
Sorry to see the facility close, but the memories remain!

Ronald E said...

I arrived at USNH5 straight out of GLAKES Corps School in September of 1962. I was assigned to SOQ 11 and 12 nursing males and female officers from Ensigns to Admirals, First Lieutenants to senior Generals. I remember taking care of Aunt Nel, one of the first ten in the Navy Nurse Corps. She was in her 90s then. Her niece was a Commander RN Supervisor and corpsman detailer who had assigned me to these floors. I learned so much that it has stuck with me to this day. I enjoyed my days at this hospital and have many fond memories. I was saddened to learn it was demolished a few years ago to make way for a stadium parking lot. When I was there where the stadium stands was a drive-in theater. I remember watching the annual Army Navy Game at Vets Stadium diagonally across the street watching it from the top floor with binoculars because I was on duty. I remember JFK arriving via Marine One in the Fairmont Park across the street. In December of 63 I started lab school located in the basement (where so many labs in civilian hospitals are found )and graduated in Feb 65. I noted one other blogger, Jim Dewey who taught me microbiology. Yes, those were the days my friends. Ron Vincent rv58399@gmail.com

charlie said...

I was born there in 1953.I remember the young soldier amputees that would hang out with us teens at a hamburger joint on the corner of Broad and Hartranft sts. The joint was called the Steer inn. From 1966 to 1973 I visited the hosipital a lot.That was where I rode my first elevator(that I can recall). Chesty Puller's son was sent there for his wounds he received in Viet Nam.He wrote a great book (Fortunate Son) and a lot of the hospital is mentioned in the book.Many fond memories of hanging out around there! There was a gym,movie theater and a resturant there.I was a Marine brat with a lot of milatary freinds.I myself didn't find out about the implosion till years later. It's hard to take to this day....so many memories(bad and good) for thousands of people...........the building is imploded but not the minds!

Brian said...

I remember the Steer Inn well. It survived until probably the late 70s or early 80s. It was next to the movie theater that I remember first as the Stadium Theater and then Cinema South.

My cousin met Chesty Puller while her dad was being treated for cancer there.

I'D APPRECIATE IT IF ANYONE WHO'S HOOKED UP WITH OTHERS FROM THEIR DAYS AT PHILA. NAVAL HOSPITAL WOULD LET ME KNOW BY POSTING A MESSAGE HERE. I'D LOVE TO KNOW IF THIS BLOG HAS HELPED ANYONE COME TOGETHER AGAIN.

Ed said...

There was 7 of us that came to Philly just out of school in March 1962 and I wasd there till August 1964. Worked on 1B foe 1 1/2 years then went to Supply. Ran the Cash Register at the Chow Hall and was the BP man on the Naval Acadamy Physical Team. Served on Surgical Team #4 also played in a Band at the EM Club on Saturday nites. A lot of Great Memories at the Hospital. I did go in it in 1995 before it was tore down. Sorry to see gone.

txvoodoo said...

Ed - You may have had a hand in delivering me - I was born via c-section in Oct 1962 at the hospital! ;) My dad was working there as, I think, an xray tech. (I could be wrong - he was a medical corpsman who did many jobs). His name was Joe Duffy.

Don Gleim said...

I was stationed at Phild Naval Hospital from '62 to '64. Worked Urology ward 5 and then as EENT Tech and Instructor. I loved Philly and stayed here and met my wife at St Agnes Hospital. Have lost contact with all but one of my corpsman friends. Anyone who remembers "The Gleep" knows who I am. Have very fond memories of the staff at the hospital.

William Masi said...

This broke my heart. I was stationed there from 1970 to 1972.Such great times, so much fun. The Spectrum and
Vet's Stadium withim walking distance. At least the memories won't implode.

William Masi said...

Broke my heart. The Spectrum, Vet's Stadium all within walking distance. I was a Corpsman there from 1970 to 1973. At least the memories live on. I'll never forget it.

fourpaw_5 said...

From Stu Maxson:
I was stationed at the U. S. Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, PA in 1964 / 1965/. I worked with Nurse Brown on the Neurosurgery Ward. I met my ex-wife there who was a Corps Wave. She was later to obtain a "Brick" from the remains of this Historic U. S. Naval Hospital. Now, when I look at this spot in Google Earth, all I see is the NFL Eagles Training Facility and really wonder how they obtained this piece of property. "I can only guess"!

Greg Rath said...

I was a patient at the hospital for 10 months, 1970- 71. As a young nam navy vet, I was fortunate to have recieved such great care.I was on the ortho ward for 6 months with pins & a pulley for my leg. I had lost my Dad and Mom was raising 4 younger kids back home in Kentucky so I had no visitors until a nurse sent 3 girls to my bedside after their friend was dicharged. At least 1 of those girls would be at my bedside every night until I was discharged. Unfortunatley I only remember 1's name ,Joyce. How I would love to thank them. After I was ambutory I was on ward Q until my discharge. We would sneak thru a hole in the fence & go to Packers Bar & have a few beers. I remember the nurses & the corpmen were all pretty awesome. I also remember hanging with Gunny Wolfe and a triple amputee from Miss., we called Shorty. Anybody knows any of these people e-mail is ccgreg@yahoo.com

Ted Stanulis said...

Just found this site. I went there in 1964 for NP school. Worked NP wards until 1967. Three of my daughters were born at the hospital. Lived off base at Broad and Snyder, then on Croskey Terrace. Remember Capt. Willoughby, first female Naval Doctor, was head of the NP Dept. Lots of good memories. Would enjoy reconnecting with anyone from that era.

Julie Harris Naparan said...

I was very happy to find this blog. I lived at 2500 south 3rd in the Stephen Decator military housing right across from the hospital. My dad was a Gunnery Sgt. in the Marines stationed at the Marine Corp Supply Activity from 64 to 71 until his retirement as a Master Gunnery Sgt. I remember going to the hospital to watch movies and not really understanding that there was a war going on. I remember that my parents took my oldest brother there when he made popcorn with lysol when my parents had gone out. I know that members of my family went to the hospital also. I just know that I always felt safe where we were, we played in the park and took the gray bus to the base to do everything.And we spent our time at the stadiums. I have alot of good memories of that time. Actually that was were my husband and I met when we were 12. Its a long story but we got married last year. Julie

Anonymous said...

I was born there on the 4th of July 1971. I was hoping to show my son and daughter where I was born. Well, at least I have some pictures to show them.

jim carroll said...

Orthopedic ward 4th floor I think...
Used to race gurneys in the basement...let bats in the from the atrium..
Ms Stewart most beautiful nurse I've ever met..
Great people...great memories...
Do you remember any of the dr. Names?

contact jfc_carco@hotmail.com

Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people...John Adams

Jim Carroll

Stan Warnock said...

I was Stationed there from 67 to 69. I was the senior tech in the blood bank for most of that time, but then went to work in Patient Affairs Where I worked for LCDR DeKray one of the finest officers I ever met or worked for. I too spent a few evenings in Packers Bar
with friends. I lived down the street in Navy Housing. Would love to hear from old friends at wstanleyr@yahoo.com

Stan Warnock HMC(FMF)USN RET

Anonymous said...

My Philadelphia U.S. Naval Hospital birth certificate is signed by Attending Physician P.P. Steckler and Commanding Officer C.L. Ferguson way back in 1956. I never got to see the place after momma and daddy brought me home.

David said...

Great to find this blog! I was stationed at Phila Naval Hospital from 3/75-7/79, as an HM3/HM2/Pharmacy tech. Great times! Staff pharmacists were Jack (Jacob) Slotkin, Joe Corcoran, Dom Vermi, Terry Irgens, Chuck Ditrapano, Dennis Dey, John Nazzaro, Dave Butler, Dan Horan and others. Played ball with Jimmy Pearl, Ed Pizinski. Techs were Jim Fleck, Spinner Crump, John Campolongo, Randy Diffendorfer, Chuck Parsons, Randy Burns, Shari Biro, Dan Sweeney and many others. Susy was our typist. I remember lunch at Blind Man's and riding the pallet jack around the basement halls while working nights!

David Price

Anonymous said...

I was stationed at Phila NH in the pharmacy from Oct 1971 to Oct 1974. I worked in the main pharmacy in the basement, and then at the Out Patient bldg. T-7? pharmacy there.
Met my wife at the hospital. She was an outpatient (dependent daughter) Two of my favorite nurses Lt. Allen and LTjg Kress worked there. Used to park on the hospital grounds to go to see the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers and save a bundle on parking. Fond memories.

Dan Geiger said...

I had the unique pleasure to be stationed an NH Philly twice, 1979-82 as a reservist pharmacy tech while going to TU pharmacy school and then again from 1993-95 as the Pharmacy DH. I participated in the closure of the hospital and moved to a temporary mobile clinic at the naval base. I had a great pharmacy staff including Mitch Recson (May he rest in Peace), Linda, Stephanie, Mike, Ed, Tony, Jim, Ike, JoJo, Jack (volunteer). I also witnessed the implosion of the hospital - what an amazingly, but sad destruction. Lots of afternoon baseball games, and free tickets to football and hockey games as well. The best steak sandwiches at Sal's and other great food places. I'm a local and everytime I drive around the area it brings back great memories.
Dan

Jim Britton USMC /RET said...

I was a patient there from 1969 to 1970 returning from VietNam. Later in 1974 I started working there in the T7 area outpatient medical records Central Appointment desk up til 1995 then transfered to NAS Willow Grove as a Champus Advisor.
The care that was provided to me by both physicians, nurses & corpman was outstanding. I came to know allot of fine military & civilian employes while there and will never forget the goodtimes we all had.

Anonymous said...

i was a 10 yr old navy kid living with my dad and family on the base in philly.in 1973 i borrowed a school buddys mini bike and turned it on its side tearing up my knee with a hole in it.my mother took me to the naval hospital where a dr.tik tin performed one of the first ever plastic surgeries on that knee.today my father is gone and i am a 48 yr old living in arkansas.i still have that scar today on that knee but never any ill effects or problems.if anyone knew dr.tik tin e-mail me at arkdad2122000@yahoo.com.still miss it and am big eagles and phillies phan.

Anonymous said...

I was a patient at this hospital back in 1969 & was under the care of a Dr. Bridburg & would like to get in touch with him or get access to his records in regards to me as his patient. If anyone can help me find him or can tell me how to get my medical information, please email me at: briteline@yahoo.com. Thank you in advance!

sharon foley said...

sharon
My husband was a patient in this hospital in oct. thru nov.1968. the hospital claims he went awol
he was found murdered on the downington interchange 3 hrs later by state troopers wirh no ID on his person, as a result he was buried in an unmarked grave, until a cold case was brought up and he has been identified, his name is corporal robert corriveau from massachusetts DID ANYONE COME IN CONTACT WITH HIM AT THIS HOSPITAL

Anonymous said...

SHARON FOLEY

IM LOOKING FOR ANYONE WHO KNEW CORPORAL ROBERT CORRIVEAU USMC HE WAS A PATIENT 1968 HE HAD A VERY DISTINCTIVE BULLDOG ON HIS ARM HIS HOME WAS MASSACHUSETTS. PLEASE HELP

CONTACT INFO
s.foley@yahoo.com

sharon foley said...

wrong e-mailaddress for sharon foley

s.foley63@yahoo.com

Ron S said...

Was stationed at hospital
59 -61 as a neuro tech ,ward T18 HM3, reading thru comments bring back good memories , sorry to hear the hospital was torned down. still remember Sharkeys bar drinks ,cost 35cents back then. Now just memories. Ron S.

Anonymous said...

For Ron S. posted a note Feb 23 ???2012...I attended NP School early 1961 (Feb?) and was assigned to T-18 after school....Eventually became senior corpsman of T-18...Discharged nfrom USN December 1963..Please email me at swabjockey6@aol.com to talk about old times

"Mac"

Anonymous said...

for Ted Stanulis note was posted May 23 ??2011....PLeasae email me to talk about old times on NP Service....I was stationed there from February (?) 1961 thru December 5th 1963..My email swabjockey6@aol.com
"Mac"

Chuck Wilson said...

I was the legal officer at NavHospPhila from 69 through 72. I often reflect on what a privilege it was to serve there. In 2008, I was traveling with Larry (see above) to a meeting in Chicago, and we discovered we were both stationed there at the same time. We both live in the Kansas City area. Small world.

Anonymous said...

My dad was stationed at the Navel base I remember getting out of Holy Spirit school and going bowling in their basement lanes waiting for my mom to get off work.

Anonymous said...

I was at the Philly shipyard just a few days in late '76 as we had brought in the USS Little Rock (CG-4) to be decomissioned. I did get to sample the great hoagies at Blind Man's and see Frank Zappa at The Spectrum. I also remember a group of us had made our way down to a "bad section" of town and were talking with some of the locals when a cop pulled up and gave us a friendly bit of advice not to associate with the particular individuals he had seen us with. And I do mean he was actually friendly, not like a lot of cops that deal with sailors. Though I was there only a short time, it certainly was a good memory and contributed to my whole experience in the Navy.

Noy Z said...

Many fond memories of that place. I was stationed there from 88 - 90 working in the X-ray department. My dad was processed there before he was shipped off to Vietnam. Lost of great memories. That place had a history and I very sad that they took it away.

Anonymous said...

I was stationed there from 1970 to 1972, then went to the third marine division. Worked on plastic surgery, general surgery and medical records. Great memories of the Spectrum and Vets Stadium, Philly cheesesteaks and soft pretzels. Also see the Stones at the Spectrum.I really miss those days and that amazing hospital.

Anonymous said...

I was stationed at the hospital in the early 80s as a corpsman in the department of ophthalmology. I was a California kid and this was my first time living on the east coast. I remember the bowling alley in one corner of the hospital. I learned to play astetroids there.

It was so sprawling it seems. The hospital felt very old and creepy. Now and then I had duty at the front desk answering the phones. The phone system was straight out of the 1940s. I felt like Lily Tomlin using it. It was so nice being located next to the subway too. Downtown was just minutes away.

Since I was only 20 years old I would have to go over to New Jersey to have a drink, where it was legal.

My memories of these times are so vivid as this is when I believe I came of age and became a real adult.

Capt. Martinson was the commanding officer, a tough as nails children's orthopedic surgeon, female.

I met some wonderful people while I work there. I recall the nice blind African-American woman who worked in the deli.

Now I see that the building has been demolished and all that is left is memories. Now and then I visit Google earth and just look at that area the hospital used to be at. I was proud to work there. It played a role in helping me to be the person I am today. I am back on the west coast now but I often revisit the hospital and The people there in my mind. I'm glad to know other people feel a connection to it also. It was quite a place.

Anonymous said...

I remember a guy wanting to get transfered to a VA hospital in Michigan, (this was 1968) he was in a full body cast, had his buddies drive to Phila in a station wagon, they put him on a gurney and wheeled him to an outside door, loaded him into the car, AWOL in a full body cast!

scott said...

I was stationed at NAVHOSPPHILA from January 1984 to December 1985 as a Corpsman, I worked in Ward 1-D and then the Emergency Room. The time spent there were some of the best of my life and I loved the building and the grounds, the staff (both civilian and military). I knew that it had been torn down. About six years ago I went back to Philadelphia and my brother (also a Navy veteran) walked the parimeter. I was sad to see that such a great place was gone but was glad to see that they kept the parimeter fence.
I have been lucky enough to live close to some of my fellow Corpsman from those time.
Scott

Gary said...

I was there from March 80 to Oct 83. Was incharge of the Naval Base Ambulance as a E-2, and after about 18 months ws transfer up to Eduction and Training to teach the EMT I program. Really miss the place and would really like to hear from others that were there at the same time. HM2 Gary Karns fire353_98@yahoo.com

Nancy said...

I was stationed at PNH 68-69 on the NP wards. T-16 was my favorite because of the compassionate skill of the senior corpsman, Bill Knecht. I learned a great deal from him, that I carried with me many years later when I became a Clinical Social Worker. I still have a daisy (pressed)one of the patients gave me the day I was discharged. I remember Bill Cosby's dad was a patient there on the T-wards and he brought donuts and hot chocolate for the corpsman on more than one evening visit. The easiest way to get to the women's barracks was through the hospital and out the ramp for the amputee wards. They'd strut their stuff in the chairs, doing wheelies and such trying to impress us girls as we walked through. Flirting with all was the answer, and I never ever felt threatened. I went on a few medivacs when they were short of staff or a female was on board, and remember changing the dressings on several amputees, chatting them up to try to distract them, then sobbing my heart out that night. Because of a shortage of Corpsman stateside, we worked split shifts -0600- 1400 then 1700-2300 for 5 days, and 7-5 for two. We'd have a weekend off duty every three weeks. I loved what I did, who I worked with and the Marine (almost all) patients. I've done a lot with my life since then, but that duty still remains a source of fulfillment and pride for me. My daughter became a DT and was in Desert Storm, and now my granddaughter is an HM at the new Ft.Belvoir Hospital - on the Wounded Warrior Transition wards. Chip off the old block.

Rick Schempf said...

I was at the hospital from Mar 1972-Mar 1973. I was incharge of the enlisted Barricks. I was a GMG2 and have a lot of relly good memorys from there. I use to Run around with a Grace Price from Conn, and A Donna Dietrick from Pa. I have been looking for these two women sence I reatired in 1982. If anyone knows them, will thay give them my Gmail Thumper851@gmail.com Thank you

Rick Schempf said...

I was at the hospital from Mar 1972-Mar 1973. I was incharge of the enlisted Barricks. I was a GMG2 and have a lot of relly good memorys from there. I use to Run around with a Grace Price from Conn, and A Donna Dietrick from Pa. I have been looking for these two women sence I reatired in 1982. If anyone knows them, will thay give them my Gmail Thumper851@gmail.com Thank you

Andy Lidgard said...

1977-1979
I was stationed on the USS Johnston DD821 which was berthed at pier1. We could walk to Blindman's in about 2 minutes; everyone loved the food and the old gentleman that ran the shop...mmm shrimp poboys!!

After an injury I was attached to the hospital for about 6 months. I spent another 6 months working limited duty in the base personnel office, building 114?

I absolutely loved south Philly! It breaks my heart that the nation's leaders thought it prudent to shut down the base and that beautiful hospital.

I have been searching for a friend that I was stationed with while I was on limited duty. If anyone has contact info for Jodie Ward (Baylor) please steer her in my direction. The last time I saw her was at the hospital where she was a patient for a while.

Andy Lidgard, masamrus@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

So many touching stories, so many memories. Maybe someone can aid in providing information or memories for about a young marine, Marine Cpl. Robert Daniel Corriveau. He went missing from the hospital in Nov of 1968 and was known as the Bulldog John Doe for 44 years. His sister Virginia Cleary told a heart felt story of her quest to find answers surrounding her brother's murder.
To find more info regarding Cpl. Corriveau: http://www.eagletribune.com/latestnews/x1839359026/Penn-police-probe-1968-murder-of-marine.
If you have info contact the PA state police:610-268-5158,610-268-2022 or email: RA-1968MarineDeath@pa.gov

Anonymous said...

While stationed aboard USS Inchon, we were at the PNS twice, in 82 and 83. I remember Blind Man's fondly and making a last minute run (downtown) for some cheese steaks before we departed. That was the last excellent cheese steak I ever had.

Ramon Baker, M.D. said...

May 13, 2013;
My medical training was at Temple Medical in Philadelphia. During that time (1960's) I joined the Navy as did a few other student-physicians. Viet Nam was just starting, and patriotism was second only to altruism in those days - national policy not being a serious concern at that age (for better or worse). I looked forward to the adventure of military life wherever it might have led, and my first duty was with the fleet. The second was at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital in the ER. Our particular group was fortunate to have permission from the administrator (Capt. Jacobi) to cover the ER after hours at Episcopal Hospital North during evening rotations throughout that second year. I was grateful for the experiences then and during the next 5 years with ER groups in Philadelphia. I have very fond memories of the corpsmen with whom I worked aboard ship and in the naval hospital. They were an exceptional group of individuals, and to this day I am proud to say I was associated not only with them, but also with all of the ship's company and those in the hospital as well. We were Americans, and proud to show the Colors as representatives of Our Country. I was blessed in a special way at the time, when, through an unusual circumstance, my mother realized my father was having some bizarre symptoms. He had fallen 2 months before with no apparent injury and released from a hospital in my hometown. As she related the story, it was obvious he (almost 2 months later) was experiencing a rapidly evolving subdural hematoma. After securing permission from the CO (USNH), I met them the next morning at another hospital outside of Philly, where dad actually lapsed into a comatose state. CAT scans were not in use yet, but immediate surgery gave us yet another 15 years to be with our dad. He lived to be 91. Reading all of the comments on this site does refresh some of the best memories of our lives, and hopefully will sustain those whose lives were not so fortunate. May we always preserve and cherish our way of life under a Constitutional Government, despite our present situation. God Bless America.

James Jackson said...

I was stationed there based on emergency manning from 89-92 as my first duty station. I met many great people there and will forever be in my memories. J. Billman, P. Lovell, F. Leone and M. Leone plus many more. I worked in out patient records, Champus (I missed that retired HMC aka Tiny) and a short time in Physical Therapy b4 I went to PTA school in San Antonio. I remember the day I left, I just stared at the hospital I became so attached to. It tore me up inside to move on. It was the greatest time of my life. If you were there and remember me (James Jackson) aka action jackson aka. jimbob lol hit me up on my email. Would love to hear from ya! jjnri@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I was sent there in Dec. of '69 with Nam injuries. The worst memories are not of the war itself, but the haunting I still have of that ward I was in. The visions, the sounds and the smell still bothers me today. Some of the staff was cold and heartless, where the majority of the people there were pleasant to be around.

Jeff said...

My father served in the US Marine Corps. In 1960 they transferred him to a locked Psych ward at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital as part of a group of 18 service members used as test subjects in a medical trial. They kept them bound and drugged up on Thorazine and Equanil, a tranquilizer taken off the market only a few years later. They were then given various dosages of an experimental drug followed by a series of electrical shock 'treatments' at various voltages, while the doctors would make remarks and write reports about the effects of both the drug and the elctrical shock. My father remembers them making remarks such as "The subject appears to be confused." Etc.

If anyone knows anything about this project or any of the other service members who were used as guinea pigs in it, please contact me at itsjeffery@gmail.com.

Dennis said...

I was stationed at the Naval Hospital from Nov 70 to Jun 72. I was a new Physical Therapist and had the greatest experience there. For my last year there I was the Physical Therapist in charge of the amputee rehab program. The staff were the hardest working and most professional group that I worked with in my 25 year Navy career. The patients were inspirational. Thanks to all those who have served our great nation.
Dennis

Bob said...

My name is Bob Eskin, I was stationed at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital from 1981 thru 84, I had many friends and I loved seeing the people talk about Blindmans, I remember an old blind lady that worked there made my bagel with cream cheese bacon and american cheese every day. I worked as a CP Tech, on the female orthopedics ward, I was a phlebotomist in the blood drawing lab,and my last job was in Central Sterile Supply and the Pharmacy. I remember my buddys Hound Dog, Mike Staph, man there were so many and my memory fails me my first love, Lydia Parker who worked in the obs obst pregnant lady ward, she taught me about love, and sex, as she was a woman who enjoyed both men and women, she had a fling with the CO Dr, Martinson I think her name was. I knew the guys in security too well (hehe) I remember a big chubby guy that would blackmail us to look the other way when we smoked pot in the barracks, life was great there as I spent most of my naval career there at the hospuital. I remember having duty and we would have water fights with the big syringes, and would drink the cough syrup with codine to have fun. I wish I could remember the names of all my friends there. Eugene Keene was one an irish guy I went to hosp corps school with in Great Lakes, and was transferred with me to the hospitalin Philadelphia scott I think his last name was sutliff he had a crazy wife,Scott, Eugene and I shared an off base apartment at Ferry Avenue in Camden.
I remember Dr, Hill who was a surgeon that would often leave instruments, and sponges inside the patients he operated on. Mike Staph was a radiology tech, we became very good friends, and remained friends for several years after discharge. I lost track of him 20 some years ago Id love to find him again.
I could write for hours about the antics that went on there, maybe one day I will.
If anybody remembers "The Biker" as I was known (I rode a vintage Triumph chopper) Id love to hear from you.
Bob Eskin, largebal@yahoo.com

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gregory Curtis said...

Station at Philly from 88-90 then off to the US Taylor.

Greg Curtis
greglcurtis@gmail.com

Francis Donato Sgt. USMC Retired said...

I was a medevac from Vietnam and spent over a year there although I had many surgeries there I have fond memories, all day pinochle, wheel chair races on the ramp, philly cheesesteaks at the geedunk and most of all the fantastic care I received from the doctors,nurses and corpsmen I am alive today because they cared so much

chupacabra said...

Right on brother.

Willard schoeffling said...

I was a corpsmen there in 1956 and 1957, I worked on a locked ward T-18 and helped give electric shock treatments 3 days a week.

Steve Kennedy said...

I was stationed there from 1974 through 76. I was senior corpsman on an amputee ward.....I think it was 3B. As the senior corpsman and an E-3, I did have E-4's working on the floor. Whenever I would ask an E-4 to do something, the army patients would get upset about a lower rank telling someone of higher rank what to do. I got satisfaction out of doing my job. When I left the service my wife still had 2 years left in her enlistment (we met at Corpsman School), so I became a dependent and attended Temple University. We lived in base housing at the naval yards and our place was right on the Delaware River. All in all it was great times, and we had a lot of friends and good experiences.