The Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Kerrville, originally known as the Veterans Administration Hospital, Legion Branch, is located within the southeastern city limits of Kerrville in central Kerr County. The hospital was established in 1919 as a result of efforts by the Benevolent War Risk Society of Texas to raise money by popular subscription to build a hospital for the treatment of World War I veterans. The Schreiner family of Kerrville deeded property fronting the Guadalupe River to the society in April 1920, and construction began later that year. When construction was halted due to lack of funds in January 1921, however, the Department of Texas of the American Legion purchased the project for one dollar and undertook fundraising. During this period both the hospital and the area in which it is located came to be known by the name Legion. In April 1921 the American Legion donated the unfinished buildings and 748 acres of land to the state of Texas, and the Thirty-seventh Legislature appropriated $1.5 million to complete and expand the facility. The state Board of Control oversaw the operation of the institution, which opened for tubercular patients as the American Legion Memorial Sanatorium. The first patients were admitted on June 22, 1921, with preference given to exservicemen. On June 1, 1923, the United States Veterans Bureau (now the Department of Veterans Affairs) leased the institution from the state, opening the nation's ninety-third veterans hospital on July 12, 1923. The Veterans Bureau bought the hospital in May 1926 for $1,182,000. Its name, which had always included the word Legion, was changed in December 1952 to Veterans Administration Hospital at Kerrville, in order to avoid confusion with the Legion State Sanatorium, also operated by the Veterans Administration. In its early years the hospital served primarily ex-service people suffering from tuberculosis. In January 1960, however, it was converted to a general medical facility. It continues to provide health care to over 18,000 United States armed service veterans in its primary service area covering fourteen Texas counties. Almost half of the veterans receiving care in Kerrville reside outside the primary service area. The center also provides recreational facilities, physical therapy, occupational training, and social service programs. In 1989 the hospital's name changed to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In 1992 the budget was $30,863,950, and there were 3,700 inpatients and 43,302 outpatient visits. In 1993 the capacity was 380, including 154 nursing home care beds, and the staff numbered 589. The hospital has been a significant contributor to the economy of Kerrville, providing employment for residents and facilitating the introduction of professional people, visitors, and money into the community.
Is history important to you?
We need your support because we are a non-profit organization that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every dollar helps.
Kerrville Daily Times, February 25, 1968. Matilda Maria Real, A History of Kerr County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1942).
Health and Medicine
Veterans' Hospitals, Military Hospitals, and Centers
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Rebecca J. Herring,
“Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Kerrville,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 16, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
January 1, 1996
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: