District of Columbia General Hospital

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The District of Columbia General Hospital was a hospital located in Washington, D.C. It was operational from 1806 to its controversial closing by mayor Anthony A. Williams in 2001, as the city was trying to cut costs while recovering from bankruptcy. At the time of its closure, it was the only public hospital located within the District.


The hospital was founded as the Washington Infirmary in 1806, using a $2,000 grant from Congress, and was located at 6th and M Street NW.[1] Originally located in Judiciary Square it moved to 19th and Massachusetts, SE in 1846. At the turn of the century, efforts to open a new public hospital at 14th and Upshur were opposed by residents.[2] The final hospital site was first developed in the 1840s as a consolidated hospital, poorhouse and workhouse complex known as the Washington Asylum Hospital.[1] It was re-named Gallinger Municipal Hospital in 1922, after U.S. Senator Jacob Harold Gallinger.[1]

Washington City Paper described the hospital in 1994 as a "city poorhouse" that "provided de facto universal health care to the residents of the District... typically, only people with no alternative."[1]


Shortly after its closure, the facility was used as a homeless shelter, with a capacity of around 270 families.[3]

In 2014, 8-year old Relisha Rudd went missing after her family was staying in the facility. In the days before her disappearance she was seen with a janitor from the facility who killed himself and his wife. [4] Rudd had not been found as of July 2018.[5]

In 2016, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a plan to replace the D.C. General shelter with six smaller facilities located around the city while transitioning families to subsidized housing. D.C. General was officially closed by Mayor Bowser on October 30, 2018.[6]

Reservation 13, the area encompassing the hospital site, was offered as part of Washington's bid to host Amazon HQ2.[7]

External links


  1. ^ a b c d "The Curse of D.C. General". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  2. ^ Fenston, Jacob (November 5, 2014). "From Public Hospital To Homeless Shelter: The Long History Of D.C. General". WAMU.
  3. ^ "What's Happening With Mayor Bowser's Plan To Close The D.C. General Homeless Shelter? | WAMU". WAMU. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  4. ^ "Timeline: Disappearance of Relisha Rudd". WashingtonPost.com. 31 October 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Opinion | When a shelter fails homeless people this badly, destroy it". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  6. ^ "D.C. General, the city's troubled megashelter for homeless families, finally closes". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  7. ^ Neibauer, Michael. "No link between imminent D.C. shelter closure and Amazon's HQ2, city official says". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2018-08-17.

Coordinates: 38°53′7.70″N 76°58′27.96″W / 38.8854722°N 76.9744333°W / 38.8854722; -76.9744333