Driving Tour

When you drive into the VAMC grounds from the State of Franklin (ETSU) entrance, you will cross the railroad tracks and then take the left fork. At the three way stop, Building 52 will be on your left. Building 52 is now the home of the administrative offices of the James H. Quillen College of Medicine.

(The architectural style of the VAMC buildings is called Beaux Arts.)

     Turn right at the three way stop. On your left is Building 1, which is now filled with offices of the clinical and basic sciences departments of the Quillen College of Medicine. Building 1 is one of the earliest Mountain Home structures. It was built in 1903-1905 and was originally used as a domiciliary with bed wards.

(You may want to pause or pull over in front of the next building, if possible.)

     The next building on your left is Building 34. Built in 1902 as a Mess Hall, it is a focal point of the VA grounds. The most striking feature of the building is an elaborate bell tower in the center of an equally elaborate front façade. The Mess Hall now houses the Museum at Mountain Home, a joint project of the VAMC, the James H. Quillen College of Medicine and the city of Johnson City. The Museum, which is not yet open to the public, will tell the story of the history of health care in South Central Appalachia. Major exhibits include the office of Dr. A.J. Willis, who was a local family physician, early radiology, patent medicines, early life at the VA and more. For more information about the Museum, contact Martha Whaley at the ETSU Medical Library.

     On your right in the middle of Brownlow Circle is the bandstand, sometimes erroneously called “the gazebo.”  The bandstand is now often used for weddings and musical performances.

     Buildings 2 and 8 on your left have been renovated for College of Medicine and VAMC offices, but they were originally domiciliaries (patient dormitories.)

     Straight ahead is the VA hospital, which was originally nine separate and distinct buildings that were joined by an enclosed rectangular connecting corridor. The hospital complex is now undergoing extensive renovations. The large building to the right of the hospital is the new domiciliary.

     Turn left at the end of the street and then turn left on Maple. (One-way street)

     On your left is Building 17, the Carnegie Library.  Built in 1903 with funds donated by Andrew Carnegie, the library consists of a single large room with a bookshelf-lined balcony at the second floor level and a stained glass skylight in the ceiling. This building no longer houses the VAMC resident’s library.  It is now a lecture hall and it is the future home of the historical book collections of the James H. Quillen College of Medicine.

     Turn right onto 4th street. Straight ahead and to your right you will see Building 13, the chapel. The building is “ell” shaped. Each wing is a separate chapel. To the left of the entrance is the Protestant Chapel; straight ahead is the Catholic Chapel. The chapel is no longer used because the new domiciliary building contains a chapel.

     Turn right onto Memorial Drive. After you pass the chapel, the next building on the left is Memorial Hall, the theatre. Built in 1905, this building has been renovated and is now being leased by the Friends of Theatre at East Tennessee State University.

     Turn left at the stop sign to exit the VAMC grounds.

Martha Whaley
Technical Services/History of Medicine Librarian
James H. Quillen College of Medicine
East Tennessee State University
(423) 439-8069