Bushnell General Military Hospital

Bushnell Hospital from the east
Bushnell General Military Hospital, seen here from the east, operated in Brigham City, UT, from 1942 to 1946.

Bushnell General Military Hospital operated from 1942 to 1946. It was one of several military hospitals built during World War II to serve injured veterans. The military wanted men to recover in hospitals close enough to their homes so friends and family could be able to visit them. Bushnell was the hospital for the West Coast region. Utah seemed like an ideal location because it was far from the coast, which might be targeted by enemy submarines, yet well connected by railroads to the rest of the West Coast. Several other military installations already existed in Utah, including the Ogden Supply Depot, Dugway Proving Ground, Fort Douglas, and the Topaz Internment Camp.

Bushnell telephone lounge
Bushnell Hospital didn’t just provide medical care for veterans. It also attempted to meet their social and emotional needs, such as this telephone lounge allowing soldiers to talk to their loved ones.

During the years Bushnell operated, over 13,000 veterans were treated there. It functioned as a self-contained city, with its own waste treatment, utilities, fire department, laundry, carpenter’s shop, water wells (though some water also came from Brigham City), recreation center, theaters, chapel, kitchens, mess hall, brace shop, pharmacy, surgical ward, dentist, and train station.

Bushnell looking northwest
This view of Bushnell Hospital shows the hospital ward buildings in the area that is now part of USU-Brigham City.

The hospital gained nationwide and even worldwide importance for the penicillin trials conducted there. It was also significant for the advancements in prosthetics achieved in its brace shop. Local doctors at the University of Utah contributed to the work done at Bushnell, and doctors at Bushnell took their knowledge to other local doctors and populations, so each group benefited from the presence of the other. In addition to these broad impacts, the thousands of men and women who worked or recovered at Bushnell Hospital were changed by its impact on their lives.

Sources for this Page

Thomas G. Alexander, “Utah War Industry During WWII,” Utah Historical Quarterly 51, no. 1 (1983): 72–92. 
Kathleen Bradford, “Bushnell General Hospital,” Utah History Encyclopedia, https://www.uen.org/utah_history_encyclopedia/b/BUSHNELL_HOSPITAL.shtml.
“Bushnell minimizes effects of war,” Springville Herald, August 1, 1943, available at https://digitalnewspapers.org/.
“General Introduction,” World War II Military Hospitals, World War 2 US Medical Research Centre, https://www.med-dept.com/articles/ww2-military-hospitals-general-introduction/.
Aubrey Glazier, Brigham Young University, “Bushnell Military Hospital,” Intermountain Histories, http://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/86.