The SOLDIERS' HOME (12 Dec. 1863-June 1866) grew out of the need to ease and facilitate the transportation of sick, wounded, or disabled soldiers during the CIVIL WAR. Homes, or "rests," as they were often called, were established in all major American cities along popular travel routes. All national army soldiers on furlough or honorable discharge could avail themselves of temporary lodging in the Soldiers' Homes as needed. The home in Cleveland was situated on the lakefront pier, at the Union Depot. This facilitated the movement of injured soldiers from trains to the home.
Randall Crawford was chief architect of the local Soldiers' Home. He fashioned it much like one in Louisville, KY, with 2 wards at the south end of the building, which contained 25 beds. The rooms were well-ventilated and the walls brilliantly whitewashed and embellished with flags and patriotic regalia. The gas company donated all the gas to operate the lights, a significant contribution, as the home remained lighted for those entering at night. The water company allowed free use of its pipes, and a local doctor donated all of the beds and rope mattings. The Soldiers' Home aided 56,645 men and served over 112,000 meals. Eventually an employment agency grew from this facility, which assisted disabled soldiers. Another free service was the collection of bounty and pension claims for soldiers.
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See also WELFARE/RELIEF; PHILANTHROPY; HOSPITALS.