CAMBRIDGE – An Ohio Historical Marker was dedicated on Memorial Day for U.S. Army’s World War II Fletcher General Hospital and POW Camp located three miles north of Cambridge. The location is one of the best-preserved emergency war hospital sites in the country.
During the Second World War, a 168-building hospital complex the size of a small city was built near Cambridge as one of the two primary centers in Ohio for care of the war’s returning wounded veterans. This Memorial Day marks the 75th anniversary of the hospital’s original dedication.
By the end of the war, boasting a 2,000-bed capacity, it had served more than 17,000 patients and housed over 230 German POWs who worked at the facility. After the war, it became the Cambridge State Hospital, treating thousands more. Today, the streets of the complex and some of the original buildings remain, still used on a smaller scale for psychiatric hospitalization and care of the developmentally disabled.
The dedication program included comments by local historians and a representative of the Ohio History Connection, followed by an official unveiling of the large, metal roadside marker, the seventh historical marker in the county.
Former patients and employees who attended the dedication were recognized. It is believed that several hundred of the wounded veterans once treated at the hospital during the war still live in the Ohio area.