Walking the Walk

This weekend is the annual Mare Faire on Mare Island, site of the first naval base on the U S Pacific Coast. Mare Island also was the home of the first Naval Hospital on the west coast. Opened informally – housed first in an unused granary – in 1864, the hospital closed in 1957. The Navy Schools Command operated the facilities until the Navy Base closed in 1997. Touro University took possession of the property in the early 2000s.

Mare Island Naval Hospital, 1871 (Image: National Archives)


The Mare Faire is my annual opportunity to tell the story of Naval Hospital Mare Island, California, to visitors from around the country. This weekend, both on Saturday and Sunday, I give a one hour PowerPoint® presentation, Mare Island’s Hospitals–Mare Fair 2012Aug11-12. Then, I lead a walking tour of the hospital property, which is today owned by Touro University California. with the exception of one building used for instructional spaces, and three for administration an faculty offices, the original hospital structures lie empty and unused. While university officials won’t allow us access to the interiors, we are permitted to walk the hallowed grounds where wounded and sick sailors and Marines walked for nearly 100 years.

So this weekend, I literally talked the historical talk and walked the historical walk.

©2012 Thomas L Snyder

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  • Ken Williams  On 16 Aug 2012 at 14:44

    Thomas, missed your tour, however, I bet it was great. I was stationed at the Schools command 14 years for my 27 year career. Came there in December of 1966 as a seaman apprentice and retired from there in 1993 as Command Master Chief. My office can be seen in this picture, second floor on the West side. You know me by the way, we were on the Vallejo Garden Tour committee together a few years back.

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