Historic Places: Chelsea Naval Hospital

Located on the banks of the Mystic River in Chelsea, Ma, the Chelsea Naval Hospital is a more obscure and lesser know part of Massachusetts maritime history. Opened in 1836 for the treatment of naval personnel, the expansive 88-acre property treated members of the United States Navy throughout the wars and conflicts of the 19th and 20th centuries. The photo below is of the commanding officers quarters on the campus. Note it close proximity to the Mystic River (Tobin) Bridge.

Boston Harbor Historical Place

Among the hospital’s more famous patients were Presidents John Quincy Adams and John F. Kennedy. The hospital was closed in 1974, and the buildings on the property were subsequently converted into condominiums. The excess land was converted into a park, known today as the Mary O’Malley park.  The photo below is a view of the ground of the naval hospital as seen from the inner Boston Harbor:

Naval Hospital

A view from the grounds of the Naval Hospital: Positioned on the Mystic River, the park offers and good view of the Tobin Bridge and the Boston City Skyline. Across the river, there is a large dock which accommodates some of the largest ships coming into the inner harbor. It is here that a small body of water called the island end river extends inland from the Mystic- it accommodates a the Admiral’s Hill Marina. Note the granite blocks in the foreground which solidify the structure of the waterfront park. They are similar to those used in the construction of the main hospital buildings.

boston harbor

Access to the park is through Commandants Way in Chelsea, which is off the first exit northbound from Route 1.

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9 Responses to Historic Places: Chelsea Naval Hospital

  1. marie riley says:

    My daughter was born there 45 years ago

  2. bhb says:

    Very cool- I don’t know of many people who have spent time there back when it was a hospital. Would you happen to have any old photos or stories about the place that you would be interested in sharing?

  3. Leo Wicker says:

    I was a patient there in 1969-70. On ward 15. Wounded in battle Marine grunt. Would love to hear from anyone who was there during that time.

  4. Susan Adams Brown says:

    I was born at the Chelsea Naval Hospital on June 30, 1955 to Bobby R. and Isolde C. Adams.

  5. Susan Adams Brown says:

    My father, Bobby R. Adams, is U.S. Navy (Ret)

  6. bambi says:

    My dad was an orthopedic surgeon stationed 1955? until the Fall of 1959. We lived on base in the officer’s quarters. Does anybody remember the tunnels?Stationed San Diego 1959 until his retirement 1969. He is 99 (2015). Alive and kicking. I’m so proud.

    William S. Stryker, M.D., Capt (MC), Ret.

  7. kal says:

    I was born at Chelsea Navel Hospital on Aug. 29, 1956 to Robert and Doris Trenholm.

  8. Jean says:

    We used to climb the fence and play on the grounds of the hospital, and we had to run from the MP. We climbed the fruit trees, and ate the fruit and caught snakes. We took our sleds or anything we could use to sled down the steep hill in winter, and we used cardboard in summer. It was such fun, and I have a scar on my leg where I got caught in the barbed wire. Sorry to know things have changed so much, and that the fruit trees are gone. There were apple, and crab apple, peach, pear, and plum trees all over that land.

  9. Jean Bolster Weston says:

    I was born there on a December 22, 1943 to Carl and Laurel Bolster
    My father was At that time in the a Coast Guard during WWII

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