Once in a while, I'll see a story in the local newspaper about a couple celebrating an anniversary, with the man having arrived in Springfield, Missouri either as a patient for or on an assignment to O'Reilly General Army Hospital.
It was one of the primary military hospitals in the midwest during World War II, quickly thrown up in the early days of that great conflict on a patch of open ground in the northeast part of the city.
From a local history of the hospital ...
O’Reilly’s staff served over 100,000 patients during the hospital’s five years of operation. 42,000 patients were wounded and injured soldiers—even a few German prisoners of war. All were treated at an average cost of five dollars per patient per day.— In addition, 60,000 civilian dependents of military men also were treated at O’Reilly’s outpatient clinic, and a few even gave birth to children there. Healthcare today could take a lesson about efficiency from O’Reilly’s staff.
During the years after the war, the part of the campus was turned over to the Assemblies of God church, and it became the site of Evangel College (now University).
"Swords into plowshares ... "
- Despite sharing its name with a prominent local family, the hospital was named for a former surgeon general of the US Army, Robert Maitland O'Reilly.
- Evangel University's O'Reilly Army Hospital history.
- I suppose the "last building" resonates so much with me because I lived in a converted hospital barracks, albeit at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, circa 1950 while my father was stationed there.