FORT HOWARD VA HOSPITAL

This area’s historical significance is its connection with the largest invasion of the United States in history on the morning of September 12, 1814. The British had landed about seven thousand men near the site that later became Fort Howard, as a part of a campaign to capture and burn Baltimore. In coordination with their navy’s bombardment of Fort McHenry, the British troops were to march up Patapsco Neck and capture Baltimore from the east. But the British advance was first demoralized when American sharpshooters Daniel Wells and Henry McComas killed their popular commanding general. The advance had been temporarily stalled by the Americans in the Battle of North Point, and finally stopped dead when the British perceived the strength of the American defenses at Patterson Park. Disheartened, they re-boarded their ships near North Point and sailed away- to another defeat, in the Battle of New Orleans. Fort Howard was originally known as North Point, but was renamed in 1902 after Colonel John Eager Howard, a Baltimore philanthropist and distinguished soldier of the Maryland Continental Line during the Revolutionary War. In the 1700′s, the site served as an important part of the transportation route between the Eastern Shore and the port of Baltimore. Known as the “Bulldog at Baltimore’s Gate”, Fort Howard was also created to protect the valued Baltimore Port. Many of the fort batteries, previously manned by Coast Artillery Corps, can still be seen, although they are now covered by dark ivy and bushes. The hospital was built around 1940 on the post garrison area of the fort. The rehabilitation facility which had 154 hospital operating beds also provided rehabilitation medicine, geriatric medicine, substance abuse rehabilitation, subacute care, and outpatient services. It operated a 47 bed nursing home care unit that was closed in 1996 with the opening of the new nursing home in Baltimore. Many of the other services that were available here have been transfered elsewhere.Of the many structures on site all of them are abandoned with the exception of the out-patient clinic, grounds crew building and the security building at the front gate. Plans are in the works to create a veterans retirement community on the old campus so it may not last much longer in its current condition before building/demolition begins.