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Report of the U.S. Army Field Hospital, (Deer Park), Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, June 30th, 1906

Books and Documents > The U.S. Army Medical Department in the Aftermatch of the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 18 April 1906



1. This hospital, so named from being located in the Deer Park, at the South-East end of Golden Gate park, is under the command of Contract Surgeon Henry du R. Phelan,

2. U.S. Army, with a detachment of one non-commissioned officer and twenty-one privates of the Hospital Corps, one civilian physician and four civilian female nurses.

3. The Deer Park Hospital was founded immediately after the earthquake and fire, but the building were not completed till the latter part of May. It was originally intended for use as a typhoid fever hospital. The first two patients admitted as typhoid suspects, were received on May 24th and 25th respectively.

About the first of June, this hospital not being used for the purpose for which it was intended, there being practically no typhoid fever in San Francisco, was turned over to the military authorities and placed under the command of Captain Harry L. Gilchrist, Commanding Officer of Company A, Hospital Corps, U.S. Army, then in charge of the Model Field Hospital established in the neighborhood, of which it became an annex. Upon relief from duty of Company A, Hospital Corps, on June l5th, the patients were transferred from the Model Field Hospital to the permanent buildings at Deer Park. Contract Surgeon Henry du R. Phelan, U.S. Army, then receipted for all government property left by Captain Gilchrist in Golden Gate Park, and assumed command of Deer Park Hospital, on June 15th, 1906.

4. There are two Reed troughs and two trenches used as latrines; one pit for refuse liquid matter from the Laundry; one pit for solid refuse, though the greater part of it is carted away by a scavenger, free of charge.

Source: National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 393, Records of Continental Army Commands, U.S. Army, Part I, Entry 521, Correspondence Relating to the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, 1906.


5. There are 7 Quartermaster's storage tents and 3 conical tents in use in addition to the frame buildings constituting the hospital.

6. One storage tent is floored, 6 storage tents unfloored; 3 conical tents unfloored, and 14 persons, (not patients) sleep in unfloored tents.

7. The water supply is inadequate, there being but one 1 3/4 inch pipe to supply the needs of the hospital. All drinking water is sterilized by means of Forbes sterilizers, of which a sufficient number are available.

8. There are 8 garbage cans in use and these are sufficient.

9. No provision having been made for supplying patients with clothing, they have so far relied upon the generosity of private parties and on the efforts of Miss Martha L. Young, chief nurse, who had carefully ministered to the wants of the patients. On June 23,1906, a consignment of clothing was received from the Vancouver (B. C.) Relief Committee, which was freely distributed among the needy patients by Miss Maggie McP. McLeod and Miss Isabel McLean, representatives of said committee. The food for the civilians is obtained from the Moulder School House Supply Depot, while the rations for the military are drawn from the Presidio.

10. Since the abandonment of the Model Field Hospital on June 15th, there have been no facilities for bathing at Deer Park.

A laundry was established with a sufficient supply of cold water. The means for obtaining hot water are, however, inadequate.

11. The majority of the patients at this hospital are refugees in need of shelter, clothing and food.

12. The food supply is ample and of good quality. Clothing is lacking for many of the patients, especially articles of underwear. Shelter is sufficient for the present. There are no contagious diseases here, nor have there been any since the opening of this hospital.


Medical supplies are ample, and the depot connected with the hospital was able to furnish the required medicines and dressings to the various camps throughout the Park for several months. There is, however, a total lack of surgical appliances. The total number of admissions to U.S. Army Field Hospital and to the Deer Park Hospital, (annex and later continuation of the former establishment) has been from April 26 to June 30, 500, or a daily average of 8.33; and from June 1 to June 30, 50, or a daily average of 1.6.

The total number of deaths recorded since April 26th is 11; and from June 1 to June 30, three.

No births have occurred, but several cases of miscarriages were under treatment at different times.

The records of the Model Field Hospital not being available, it is impossible to give the exact number of patients receiving treatment and medicine at the hospital dispensary, but there were many hundred so assisted.

The total number of surgical dressings applied at the Model Field Hospital and at Deer Park since May 1st, amounts to 1,515, of this number 835 were applied from May 1 to May 31 and 690 from June 1 to June 30. Miss Mary Brown, of the White Cross, from Chicago, superintended the surgical work during this period; and Doctor Henry du R. Phelan being the operating physician.

The sanitary conditions at this hospital are excellent; drainage is ample by reason of the gentle slope of the land, and the afternoon summer breeze is invigorating to the high degree.

No new constructions were undertaken during the month of June. No data are available as to the cost of scavengers and other labor. Fuel and disinfectants and forage for animals are supplied from the Presidio.


It is impracticable to show the exact cost of maintaining this hospital, from the that the supplies are renewed from a relief station and from the Presidio, upon requisitions and ratio returns which do not show the cost of the same.

For the month of June, the approximate cost of a few articles may be given as follows: Bread, about $50.00; Ice, about $5.00; milk, about $150.00.

The total salaries of physicians and nurses for the month of June amount to $434.00, as follows: One civilian physician at $100.00 per month; from 3 to 7 civilian female nurses employed at different times at $2.00 per diem each, $334.00.

14. With a sufficient personnel and an energetic and experienced man in charge of this hospital, there should be no difficulty in managing it satisfactorily. A few improvements such as an additional building to serve as mess ball and kitchen, a bath house with hot and cold water, fire protection by means of a hydrant to be placed on the road opposite the hospital, sufficient surgical instruments and operating room fixtures, would place this establishment in an excellent condition for general as well as emergency work.

Considering that a population of about 5,000 refugees inhabits the Golden Gate Park, the accommodations offered by this hospital of 100 beds, would be ample, provided that there be a continuance of the remarkably good sanitary conditions at present existing in the camps.

It is estimated that the following personnel would be required for a 4 ward hospital: 2 Physicians; 5 female nurses, 4 for day and 1 for night duty; 5 male ward attendants for day or night duty; 2 cooks; 2 assistant cooks; [ed.-omitted in original, 4 laundrymen or laundresses]; 1 outside man for general police and sterilizing water; 1 night watchman; 1 office clerk; 1 druggist and 1 drug clerk; a total of 26 persons.


If, on the contrary, it is intended that the hospital should be reduced to a mere emergency station, then 2 wards could be closed; the one to serve as a mess hall and the other for any purpose that circumstances might indicate. Fifty beds would then be available, 25 in each the male and the female ward. The personnel could likewise be reduced and consist of 2 physicians, 3 female nurses, 3 male ward attendants, 1 cook, 1 assistant cook, 2 laundrymen or laundresses, 1 outside men for general police and sterilizing water, 1 night watchman, 1 office clerk and one druggist; a total of 16 persons.

An ambulance should he attached to this hospital, as there are daily calls for such from the various camps in the Park. To the two foregoing estimates an ambulance driver should then be added of personnel.

The statistics above given of the number of cases treated tend to show that the U.S. Army Field Hospital and the Deer Perk Hospital, which are in reality the same establishment, have served a useful purpose during their short existence. The patients generally expressed themselves as satisfied, while in the majority of cases they were greatly benefited by their stay with us.

In conclusion it may be remarked that the members of Company A, Hospital Corps, who were sent all the way from Washington, D.C. to the relief of the San Francisco sufferers conducted themselves in an efficient and creditable manner. The White Cross physicians and nurses who came from Chicago, also rendered valuable services, and special credit is due those nurses who elected to remain here till the end of June, apparently loath to sever themselves from the task they so cheerfully undertook. Much praise should finally be given those San Francisco physicians and nurses, all of them sufferers from the terrible disaster of last April, for their faithful performance of the duties assigned to them.

Respectfully submitted,


Henry du R. Phelan
Contract Surgeon, U.S. Army,
Commanding the Hospital