The Army and Navy General Hospital in Hot Springs, Ark., was the first combined general hospital in the nation for both army and navy patients. The hospital, founded on this date in 1882, began with one building for up to 30 patients. Over the ensuing years, the hospital campus grew to 59 buildings. Its busiest period was during World War II, when about 1,800 patients were admitted in 1945, mainly with conditions relating to arthritis. In the 1950s, efforts were made to close the hospital as the numbers of active-duty servicemen declined and veterans took advantage of the Veterans Administration hospital system. In 1959, the hospital was taken over by the State of Arkansas, which turned it into a vocational rehabilitation center. Forty-two of the 59 buildings remain at what is now known as the Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center.
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