Fort Chaffee hospital Complex from 1941 Burns
The Chaffee Crossing buildings that burned Wednesday and Thursday were almost 70 years old.
Joey Chasteen, Chaffee Crossing historian, said the medical complex was built in two phases in late 1941 and 1942.
It included an 834-bed hospital, three mess halls, a dance hall, post exchange, post office, bowling alley, emergency room, operating rooms, obstetrics/gynecology facility, four solitary-confinement quarters, dental offices and barracks among other buildings, Chasteen said.
Covered walkways connected all buildings in the complex.
The medical complex closed in the early 1970s, although some facilities were used when Vietnamese refugees were brought to Chaffee in 1975, Chasteen said. The solitary-confinement quarters were used when Cuban refugees were processed through Chaffee between 1980 and 1982, he said.
When the U.S. Army Joint Readiness Training Center operated at Fort Chaffee from 1987 to 1993, Chasteen said, a small number of barracks closest to the Deer Creek Trails Golf Course clubhouse were used to house soldiers.
The crew from the Travel Channel show “Ghost Adventurers” filmed an episode during a weeklong visit to Fort Chaffee, which included filming in buildings at the medical complex. The episode aired in November.
The fire burned more than 80 acres and all but one of the 120 buildings in the medical complex.
(article from Times Record of Fort Smith Ar.)