Fort Bayard State Hospital

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Fort Bayard State Hospital
Opened 1899
Closed 2010
Current Status Closed
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Santa Clara, NM
Architecture Style Mission Revival
Alternate Names
  • Fort Bayard Army Sanatorium
  • United States Veterans' Hospital No. 55


Fort Bayard was established in 1866. The fort served as home to Indian scouts and Buffalo Soldiers and played a key role during the Apache Wars. The post was decommissioned in 1900, but Army Surgeon General George M. Sternberg, noting the good health enjoyed by Fort Bayard troops, successfully worked to maintain the post as an Army hospital – primarily for tuberculosis patients.

Not long after, in 1922, the site was transferred to the Veterans Administration, where it continued to treat tuberculosis patients. The large hospital—the one slated for demolition—was built at that time.During the 1930s, many Civilian Conservation Corps boys were brought to the hospital to be treated for minor afflictions. Fort Bayard gained new buildings and landscaping as part of New Deal work relief projects. With the exception of four relatively minor contemporary buildings, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects would complete the built environment and cultural landscape that characterizes much of the historic district today.

Between 1943 and 1945, while treatment for TB continued, as many as 100 German prisoners of war were brought to the fort from the large POW camp near Lordsburg. Housed in a building north of the hospital and guarded by two platoons of soldiers, they were assigned jobs that were left vacant by men who had been called to duty overseas. Fort Bayard became a state hospital and long-term care facility in 1965. But in 2010, patients were transferred to the modern Fort Bayard Medical Center, just outside the post, and the fort itself was left empty.