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AVHC Preservation Projects: Administration Building (Building 116)

The Administration Building was built in 1871. The three-story building is constructed of brick with Dayton limestone trimmings. The building originally had a broad veranda that completely surrounded the building that was later removed. Originally known as the Headquarters Building, it housed the administrative offices for the Central Branch officers. The offices of the Governor, Secretary, Treasurer and Adjutant were located on the first floor. The Putnam and Thomas Libraries were located on the second floor and were named for noted individuals.

The Putnam Library was located at the east end of the building and was named for Lieutenant William Lowell Putnam of Boston, Massachusetts. He died at the Battle of Ball's Bluff in July 1861. His mother, Mary Lowell Putnam, contacted the Central Branch to establish a library in her son's memory. Chaplain Earnshaw reported the receipt of the first shipment of books on October 6, 1868. The formal opening of the Putnam Library was April 1871 and was attended by many dignitaries. A portrait of William Putnam was hung in the library. A memorial wreath was sent every year to commemorate his death and placed in a glass cabinet above his portrait. Mrs. Putnam sent donations of first edition leather bound books, paintings, steel engravings, chromos, other pictures and trinkets, including a stereo view camera, to the Home on a quarterly basis until her death on June 1, 1898. Her daughter, Georgina Lowell Putnam, continued sending books. It is not known how long Miss Putnam continued sending shipments as documentation of the library ends in 1905.

The Thomas Library was located at the west end of the building and was named for Major-General George Henry Thomas who was one of the most successful military officers of the Civil War. General Thomas died of apoplexy in San Francisco, California on March 28, 1870. General Thomas was Chaplain Earnshaw s former commander and it was he who felt the library a fitting tribute to his late commander. The Thomas Library was started with books donated by Chaplain Earnshaw and continued to grow with subsequent purchases and donations.

In 1891 both libraries were moved to the Patient Library due to the need for increased space. After the removal of the libraries, the Administration Building was remodeled in 1892 to provide more office space. Additional remodeling work was done in 1945, 1958 and 1961. Various services used the office space on the first and second floors until Brown Hospital was built in 1931 and a new Administration Building was built in 1937. Over the years, the building was used by campus offices and veterans organizations, and also included a veterans handicraft store. The Headquarters Building was closed in 1989.