Historic California Posts, Stations and Airfields
Banning General Hospital
(Naval Convalescent Hospital, Banning)
Banning General Hospital
Banning General Hospital

On 10 April 1942, the War Department acquired 100.00 acres of land through four separate leaseholds (Lease No. W04-193-ENG-914, 915, 74, and 506) from private individuals.

The site was used by the Army as a1,000 bed hospital for the California Arizona Maneuver Area (Desert Training Center). The hospital was built by the 1st Battalion, 369th Engineer Regiment between 1942 and 1943. The hospital was operated by the 297th Field Hospital. Records of the 369th Engineer's show that they built the following at the Banning General Hospital site:

 Use Quantity
Wards 34
 Male Officers Quarters 4
 Nurses Quarters 6
 Enlisted Mens Barracks 13
 Clinic and Surgical Building 1
 Administration 1
 Laboratory 1
 Patient Receiving and Evacuation 1
 Infirmary 1
 Bath and Disinfection 1
 Mess Halls 3
 Recreation Building 4
 Post Exchange 1
 Morgue 1
 Guard House 1
 Fire Station 1
 Engineer Shop 1
 Laundry 1
 Latrines 7
 Pump House 1
 12,000-gallon Water Tower 1

On 26 May 1944, Banning General Hospital was no longer required by the War Department and declared surplus. A letter dated 13 June 1944 was issued by the Head of Real Estate Division, Bureau of Yards and Docks, Navy Department requesting that jurisdiction of the installation be transferred to that department. On 6 July 1944, transfer was made of the Banning General Hospital lease from the Army to the Navy Department for use as a Naval convalescent hospital. In 1948 the Navy declared the site as surplus. All structures were removed from the site by the Government. The land was returned to the original owners. Currently, the site has been developed into several residential homes, a mobile home park with 397 individual homes, an apartment complex, a church, and a fire station. As such, the site is currently subdivided into numerous lots and owned by more than 400 private individuals.
Source: Los Angeles District, US Army Corps of Engineers and History of the 369th Engineer Regiment


Construction of Banning General Hospital
Matt Bishoff, State Historian III, California Department of Parks and Recreation
Several facilities existed in Banning, which was located immediately outside the DTC/C-AMA. Installations included a general hospital (with 1,000 beds), a landing strip, an aid station, and a range.
On 28 July the 369th Engineer Regiment was ordered to establish a camp at Banning, California, and to construct a one thousand bed General Hospital about three miles west of the city. The move would involve only the First Battalion due to the fact that Companies D, E, and F were at Bouse, Spadra, and Pomona, respectively. The move was effected on 6 August 1943. It was estimated that the task of construction including buildings, roadways and pipelines would take about three months and a schedule of preparations was prepared on that basis. Companies A, B. and C were assigned areas of the hospital site and each company was responsible for the completion of its own area.
With four major projects going the problem of supply was tremendous. Lt. Prohaska, Regimental Supply Officer, and Lt. Huensch, Construction Supply Officer, did a commendable job in procuring, accounting for, and distributing supplies and materials to the various project sites. Their untiring efforts were instrumental in the final success of those projects.
While the hospital at Banning had a very high priority, nevertheless, the practice of being responsible for miscellaneous small tasks continued. These are too numerous to mention individually but they involved general construction of buildings, roads, and railroads. The original completion date for the hospital was moved up to 9 October 1943. The tempo of the work necessarily had to increase, by 20 September the first units of the 297th General Hospital arrived from Temple, Texas, which was to operate the hospital. The construction of the doctors and nurses quarters was rushed to completion. As the deadline date approached, Company “F” and Company “E” returned from their completed jobs at Pomona and Spadra and these companies were utilized to the fullest in meeting the date set for completion. By 9 October all major construction was finished. Several weeks were spent by small detachments in finishing and policing. By 15 October the hospital was in operation.
The desert work day schedule was 0700 to 1700.
The site is located in the city of Banning, 4 miles east of the city of Beaumont, in Riverside County, California. It is bounded by Wilson Street to the north, Jacinto View Road to the south, Omar Street to the west, and Sunset Avenue to the east.


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Updated 23 June 2017