Sheridan’s Veterans Hospital is located on the site of historic Fort Mackenzie. In 1899, Congress appropriated funds for a permanent garrison on this site, and by June 18 of that year a detachment of the First Cavalry had arrived. Temporary wooden structures were built. The fort was named after Brigadier General Ranald Slidell Mackenzie, a veteran of the Civil War and the Indian Wars. In November of 1901, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 18th Infantry were garrisoned here. By August of 1902, companies G and H of the Tenth Cavalry, known as the Buffalo Soldiers, had arrived. These black soldiers, returning from fighting in Cuba and the Philippines, were reassigned here for recuperation and retraining. Construction of the current red brick buildings began in 1902.
In 1911, the fort narrowly escaped closure by a budget-conscious Congress. After a visit to the area that fall, President Taft promised that he would never let the fort be torn down as long as he was in Washington. The fort remained open until 1913, when the troops were sent elsewhere and only a few caretakers remained. After World War 1, Taft (then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court) sent word that the fort would be transferred to the Veterans bureau for use as a 122-bed hospital for mentally ill veterans. In 1972, the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, this facility is a state-of-the-art hospital offering both inpatient and outpatient care. However, the stately architecture and lovely grounds from his historic past remain.
The campus is open for tours during daylight hours. Please respect the privacy of patients, residents, and staff. All buildings are closed to the public except for official business.
Last modified: June 16, 2021