Spanish Military Hospital Museum
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3 Aviles Street|
St. Augustine, Florida
|Website||The Spanish Military Hospital Museum|
The Spanish Military Hospital Museum is located at 3 Aviles Street, St. Augustine, Florida. The museum covers the Second Spanish Period (1784-1821) medical practices. The museum is open seven days a week from 10am to 6pm. Tours start on demand throughout the day and cover a surgical demonstration, apothecary demonstration, and tours of a medicinal herb garden.
The hospital was a three part facility consisting of Hospital West (constructed in the First Spanish Period), Hospital East (constructed during the British Period) and the Apothecary in the William Watson House (constructed in the British Period). These three parts plus their outbuildings and gardens functioned as a hospital complex during the Second Spanish Period. Aviles Street (which runs between the two wings of the hospital) was called Hospital Street until it was renamed in 1924.
The hospital was strictly a military facility; only military were treated there and only military personnel worked on the staff.
Hospital West burned in 1818 and the remaining parts of the hospital stayed in operation until two years into the American Territorial Period and officially closed down in 1823. Hospital East was destroyed in the fire of 1895. The Watson house still stands today.
Several buildings were built over the lots where the hospital once sat. Shops now exist on the lot where Hospital West was located. The last building over Hospital East was demolished in the early 1960s. Archaeological digs at that time uncovered the original foundations of the hospital building. Using those foundations and the Spanish records of the hospital, the building was reconstructed.
The reconstruction of Hospital East is open as a museum for the public. Originally owned by the American Medical Association the building is now owned by the University of Florida and operated by a private business. Tours recreate the hospital practices of the late 1700s. They include a full surgical demonstration of procedures done at the time, an apothecary demonstration discussing the medicines used and their manufacture, and a tour of the medicinal herb gardens.