Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center, Building 2, Battle Creek, MI

Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center, Battle Creek, Michigan


The Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center, formerly the Battle Creek Federal Center, has a colorful history intertwined with notable Americans. The property successively served as a sanitarium, military hospital, and offices. The Seventh Day Adventists established the Western Health Reform Institute in a cottage on the site in 1866 to espouse the ideals of temperance and preventative medicine. In 1876, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, medical director, renamed the property Battle Creek Sanitarium and expanded the facility to include a hospital, central building, and other cottages. Kellogg emphasized the importance of fresh air, exercise, rest, and a restricted diet in maintaining physical health. He experimented in other pioneering medical and scientific techniques. While he may be memorable for his work with his brother developing cereals, Kellogg reportedly was one of the first physicians to treat cancer with radium.

Much of the original sanitarium burned in 1902. A large building by architect Frank M. Andrews opened in 1903 at a cost of $1 million and was considered a marvel of modern planning and medical technology. Under Kellogg's auspices, the sanitarium expanded and a tower addition was completed in 1928. Despite Kellogg's medical and scientific intentions, the sanitarium was used primarily as a spa by the rich and famous. Guests included Henry Ford and President William Taft.

The U.S. Army purchased the property for $2.25 million in 1942 and converted it into a hospital to treat World War II soldiers. It was named the Percy Jones Army Hospital after the renowned colonel who pioneered modern battlefield ambulance evacuation and was instrumental in creating the U.S. Army Ambulance Corps. After treating nearly 95,000 patients, the hospital closed in 1953.

In 1954, the Federal Civil Defense Administration moved on site, and numerous Federal agencies now occupy it. The 1903 building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. In 2003, the complex was renamed to honor three U.S. Senators who were patients there during World War II: Philip Hart of Michigan, Robert Dole of Kansas, and Daniel Inouye of Hawaii.


The Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center includes 21 buildings on 24 acres. Building types include offices, a power plant, workshops, and storage buildings. The main 1903 sanitarium building has a rectangular footprint with three wings radiating out from the main block. It is now referred to as Building 2, with the wings designated as Buildings 2A, 2B, and 2C. It is designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, which was commonly used for academic buildings in the early twentieth century. This was a logical choice for the sanitarium since Dr. Kellogg sought to educate his patients in the ways of healthy living.

The facade is composed of buff-colored brick with decorative details such as piers, belt courses, and quoins (corner blocks) executed in gray brick. Decorative pediments (triangular gables) are above entrances. Concrete columns mark the main entrance bay and are topped with plaster Ionic (scrolled) capitals. Arched openings form loggias, which are roofed spaces with open sides. The monumental building occupies a high point in the city and was originally five stories in height, with a compatibly designed sixth story added in 1920. Despite the changes in use, the building's exterior has not been altered substantially.

The first-floor lobby has an ornate plaster ceiling. The east wall of the lobby contains a tripartite leadedglass window; the center portion bears the inscription "He is Thy Life." The stairway to the mezzanine has a cast-iron balustrade with a wood railing and marble steps. The newel post contains classically inspired ornamentation appropriate to the building style.

The sixth-floor lobby contains four murals painted by J.J. Haidt in 1922. They are located on the coved ceiling and depict serene landscape scenes in pastel colors. Other interior spaces have changed dramatically. The solarium, gymnasium, and swimming pool have been removed.

The most prominent feature of the complex is the 15- story tower that was added to the south side of Building 2 in 1928. The tower, currently designated as Building 1, was designed to complement the existing main sanitarium building. The exterior remains unchanged and is clad in stone and different shades of brick. The facade is dominated by a two-story colonnade with 32 Ionic columns. Porte cochere pavilions are located at each end of the colonnade. The tower originally contained more than 265 hotel-like guest rooms and suites, most of which had private bathrooms. These spaces have been altered to accommodate government offices. The luxurious two-story lobby of the tower has twelve massive marble columns with imported Italian marble bases. The columns are topped with Corinthian capitals that feature acanthus leaf designs. The ceiling in the lobby is coffered (recessed) and detailed with floral motifs executed in rich colors. The lobby walls are covered with pink-gold marble, and gold chandeliers illuminate the space. Tall windows open to the colonnade. Building 1A was originally the sanitarium's lavish dining room. It retains many original features including large chandeliers and murals of Oriental scenes. Draperies, doors, and decorative moldings have been restored. The room retains much of its original character and serves as a cafeteria today.

Significant Events

1866: Sanitarium opens

1902: Fire destroys earliest buildings

1903: New five-story building completed

1920: Sixth story added to main building

1928: Tower completed

1942: U.S. Army purchases site for use as hospital

1954: Federal Civil Defense Administration moves into complex

1974: Buildings 2, 2A, 2B, and 2C listed in the National Register of Historic Places

1996: Interior renovation completed

2003: Complex renamed Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center

Building Facts

Location: 74 North Washington Street

Architects: Frank M. Andrews; Merritt Morehouse

Construction Dates: 1902-1903; 1920; 1928

Landmark Status: Buildings 2, 2A, 2B, and 2C listed in the National Register of Historic Places; Buildings 1 and 1A eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places

Architectural Style: Italian Renaissance Revival

Primary Material: Buff-Colored Brick

Prominent Features: 15-Story Tower Ionic Colonnade

Building 2, the original Sanitarium facility, was constructed in 1903. It faces North Washington Street, and has its main entrance in the center of the west façade. A wide circular drive extends off of Washington Street to the entrance canopy. A wide concrete stair takes pedestrians from the street up the gentle slope to the entrance. Several trees dot the lawn out front of this building, though the foliage is not nearly as dense as during the building's heyday. Buildings 2a, 2B, and 2C extend radially off the rear of Building 2, and originally houses the Men's Annex, Gymnasium, and Women's Annex, respectively. Originally surrounded by landscaped garden, additions to the complex, and the need for paved parking lots, decreased the grass area behind the main buildings. Courtyards between the radial additions, and between 2C and Buildings 1 and 1A are the only landscaped areas. Paths connect the buildings and lead to a small fountain between Buildings 2B and 2C. The area between Building 2 and 2A was a parking lot, but due to security measures is not barricaded off.

Building 2 is a six-story brick structure with a stone foundation. The walls are a yellowish-buff colored brick, with decorative piers, panels, and belt courses of grayish-buff colored brick. The darker brick also comprises the rusticated quoining at the corners of the building and is used for all facades on the lower floors. The building has stone sills and trim, with some wood and metal trim as well. There are decorative pediments above the main entrance at each end of the east and west facades and at the north and south ends of the building. Concrete stairs lead to the main (west) entrance, with a fieldstone and concrete portico. The rood and steel portico at the entrance contains some elements of the original portico. The entrance bay is surmounted by six large concrete columns, which extend from the order, and were originally painted. A set of four columns that march the entry colonnade are similarly located on the north façade. The south façade of the building was modified to accommodate a connection to Building 1 when that structure was completed in 1928. The enclosed porches on these facades were originally open.

The first floor of the west façade of Building 2 is an arcade, which was originally an open loggia. Today it has been enclosed by windows and infill panels. Each arch is banded by decorative brickwork with a central keystone. The archway directly to the south of the main entrance bay is slightly different in appearance; this archway originally held the entrance door to Dr. Kellogg's office rather than a porch opening. The canopy above the entrance has been replaced, and the retaining walls and concrete stair at the entrance have been replaced. The first floor at the south end of the building is one story above grade due to the slope of the site. A similar arcade pattern is continued around the other façade of building at the first floor. The east façade also contains a loading dock, and fire escapes are located at the northeast corner of the building.

The windows of Building 2 are double-hung, with the exception of the tall louvered windows of the upper floors at the center bay. A few of the original wood-trimmed windows remain at the south end of the east façade; all other windows have been replaced with metal frames and trim. Stucco and infill have been used above the first floor windows. On the three-wing building, some windows have been bricked up. Most of the exterior doors and windows have been replaced with new metal and door systems.

The sixth floor of Building 2 was significantly modified over the course of the building's history. The pediment at the south end of the west façade was raised, with new parapets added here and at the rear of the building. New stucco and aluminum-sided structures were added to the existing sixth floor structure. Building 2 has several roofing types; the main building roof is slightly sloped and covered by rubber membrane roofing, while the roof of the Palm Garden structure is flat with built-up roofing. The roofs of Buildings 2A and 2C are similar to that of the main building, while Building 2B is covered by a gable roof with asphalt shingles.

The interiors of Buildings 2, 2A, 2B, and 2C have been significantly modified since original construction. Historical photographs and architectural drawings document the appearance of the interior during the sanitarium's occupancy of the buildings, and when the property was part of the Percy L. Jones General Hospital. The interior today retains certain features of the original design, particularly in the public areas of Building 2.

The basement of Building 2 has concrete floors, which have been painted red, and brick walls, which have been painted white. In some areas the stone foundation wall has been stuccoed over and painted white. Partition walls are brick or block, and have also been painted. Both original wood and modern wood or metal doors have been painted white as well. Some original metal door hardware remains. Mechanical pipes follow the ceilings of all the major hallways, and portions of the original building structural system can be identified. The basement has suspended fluorescent ceiling fixtures and natural lighting where the site slopes and the basement is above grade. Offices on the south end of the west side of the basement have windows, which look out onto the west lawn of the building.

The basement of Building 2 is organized in a similar manner to the main floors of the building. A long corridor follows the north-south axis of the plan, and a semi-circular passageway, which bisects the semi-circle. Access to the basements of Buildings 2A, 2B, and 2C is through this semi-circular passageway. Mechanical tunnels lead from the basement to nearby buildings, which were originally part of the Sanitarium complex. Tunnels on the east side of the building become aboveground passageways toward the rear of the site, due to the slope of the ground. At the south end of the basement of Building 2 is a large room, which originally served as the Sanitarium Chapel. This space is presently under construction and any significant architectural elements have been removed or lost.

The first floor of Building 2 is organized along a double-loaded, north-south corridor. At the center of this floor is the entrance lobby, which is a one-story space at the west and a two-story space, overlooked by the mezzanine at the east side. The lobby has the original plaster ceiling ornament and decorative column capitals intact, although these surfaces have been painted. The east wall contains the entrance to the former Palm Court, which is surmounted by an overhang formerly used to hold plants. This wall also contains three leaded glass windows. The central glass panel bears the inscription, "He is thy Life." The lobby, which has new wall and floor surfaces, modern windows and a modern elevator, still holds the railing and marble stairs. The primary furniture in the space is the security desk and x-ray machine at the entrance. Though modern additions, the desk, and panels are a pleasant wood color, making it relatively unobtrusive. In the south corner of the room are display cabinets with articles from the Sanitarium years, including the bike that Dr. Kellogg rode to work each day.

The main corridor which follow the north-south axis of this floor has been modernized, and includes suspended acoustical tile ceilings, and carpeted floors. The walls are drywall and plaster with a spray-applied polychromatic paint finish, and inset fluorescent lighting fixtures provides lighting. This wall finish is common on each level of Building 1 and Building 2. Few if any original architectural features remain in this main corridor.

The Palm Garden at the east side of the center of this floor was converted by the Army into a lounge, and by the Federal Center into an Auditorium. Very few of the original features remain in the space. The clerestory windows and skylights of the original Palm Garden have been completely obscured or removed. Plaster and acoustical tiles now cover the walls and ceiling, and the floor has been carpeted. The room has a suspended acoustical ceiling with fluorescent fixtures and supplementary lighting, and has been completely equipped for use as an auditorium. The function of the room as a circulation center for the main building and its winds, and as a focus as a center, has been destroyed by the modifications.

The semi-circular passageway, which surrounds the Palm Garden, and leads to the radical wings off Building 2, incorporates a combination or original and modern features. The ceilings are drop acoustical tiles, and the floor has been carpeted. Some doorways have original wood frames, trim, sidelights, and fanlights. Other doorways, including the doors to the exterior between the three wings, are modern aluminum door and window frame systems. The new door systems retain the configuration of the original framing, although the character of the entry is different as a result of modifications.

The second floor lobby of building 2 overlooks the large first floor lobby. The mezzanine has original plasterwork, columns and decorative capitals, and railings. Modern additions to the space include new paint and carpeting. In these corridors some original doors and hardware remain. The corridor, which extends in either direction from the lobby, is typical of the main hallway on each floor of this building. IT is carpeted and has a suspended acoustical tile ceiling with inset fluorescent lights. Walls have been painted, along with any existing wood trim, and are not the original colors. Much of the wood trim has been replaced by vinyl molding.

An especially notable space remaining in Building 2 is the sixth floor lobby, formerly the "Dining Room in the Trees." Remarkably, every element above the cornice line of the original space has been retained, except the skylights. Though there is the absence of the skylights, the high coved ceiling does retain its decorative plaster frame. The moldings and column capitals are also original and serve along with the ceiling details as a reminder of the former elegance of the space. The columns that now appear as engaged pilasters in the east wall of the lobby were originally freestanding columns along the side of the dining room. The room has since been divided into several spaces, and along the west side are a series of offices, further compromising the light, open character of the space. These offices have the original decorative plasterwork of the earlier dining room, and also retain original molding, doors, and trim.

Throughout Building 2 there are other spaces that retain original features, though the modernization process have obscured the historic character of these spaces. Many of the office suites in the north end of the building still have the original layout and organization areas have become break areas and office areas, with the only indication of separate rooms being the difference sized windows. These end rooms, originally open porches behind the large colonnade, have original doors, transoms, trim, and hardware, though most are painted over. Modern additions to these rooms include new paint, suspended fluorescent ceiling fixtures, and wall-to-wall carpeting.

The complex of buildings that comprise the Battle Creek Federal Center were built between 1886 and 1945. These buildings are associated with several different periods of significance.

The Seventh-day Adventist church founded the institution in 1886 as the Western Health Reform Institute. In 1876, John Harvey Kellogg, M.D., was made the physician in chief of the institute, a post he would hold for the rest of his life. In 1878, Kellogg changed the name of the institute to the medical and surgical sanitarium. Sanitarium was a word he made up to represent his philosophy of preventative medicine, or biological living.

The Sanitarium prospered under Dr. Kellogg's direction. The original building was expanded in 1876 and a new structure, "Old Main," was completed and dedicated on April 10, 1878. Major structural expansions were made to the south end of Old Main in 1884 and to the north end in 1891. In 1897, the Sanitarium became independent from the Seventh-day Adventist church. It was thus free from certain philosophic restrictions as well as the financial protection of the larger body. A series of disastrous fires burned many of the buildings including Old Main on February 1902.

Dr. Kellogg, with the help of his brother W.K. Kellogg, immediately started a new structure, which was completed at the same location and dedicated on May 31, 1903. The six-story building was built for approximately $1 million. In its day, prominent architects considered the building to be an "ideal hospital design."

Following a period of growth in the late 1920's, the Sanitarium board of directors, headed by Charles Stewart, M.D., decided to build a 14-story addition, known as the "towers addition", to accommodate an increasing clientele. Construction was started in 1927 and completed in 1928. Various factors, not the least of which was the Great Depression, turned the new addition into a milestone. Debt forced the Sanitarium into receivership in 1933. They came out of receivership in 1938 with a reorganized management, which is said to have had little sympathy for Kellogg's philosophy.

By May 1942, the Sanitarium's board of directors decided to sell the main buildings of the Sanitarium to the United States Army. $2,250,00 was agreed upon as the price, more than enough money for the Sanitarium to retire its debt. The Army assumed ownership of the former Sanitarium buildings on August 1, 1942. The Army immediately set about "to adjust the main buildings to the Army's needs." The renovation was completed and the facility was activated as a 1,500-bed hospital on January 15, 1943. The hospital was named from Col. Percy Lancelot Jones who had been an Army surgeon in the Spanish-American War, the Mexican Campaign and World War I. Jones organized what was called the first mobile medical treatment in military history. Percy Jones General Hospital was dedicated at a formal ceremony on February 22, 1943. The first patients were transferred from the Fort Custer Hospital. Within a month, the first actual combat casualties began arriving by hospital trains.

The hospital grew as the flow of casualties continued to increase. Not only was there new construction on site, but a convalescent center was added at Gull lake and the Fort Custer Reception Center for use by patients on "casual duty." By 1945 Percy Jones General Hospital had become the largest U.S. Army medical installation. Following V-J Day in 1945, the hospital population peaked with 11,427 patients assigned to its three sites.

V-J Day did not mark the end of Percy Jones General Hospital, although the number of patients did begin to decrease. In 1948 there were still about 50 patients hospitalized with war wounds, as well as 1,00 with peacetime injuries.

Percy Jones General Hospital was one of 18 medical facilities closed in an economy move by the Department of Defense on June 30, 1950. Ironically, this was only a few days after hostilities broke out in Korea. Percy Jones Hospital was reactivated on December 4, 1950 as the Percy Jones Army Hospital, with 1,600 beds. Percy Jones Army Hospital closed its doors for the last time in November 1953. Over 78,000 patients had been treated during World War II and 16,5000 more during the Korean War. Over the years, the hospital had a major influence on the local community. Battle Creek became the first city in American to install wheel chair ramps in its sidewalks because of the number of patients who wanted to go downtown. Many citizens became volunteers at the hospital and numerous patients settled in the community after the convalescence.

The loss of the hospital created a void in the City of Battle Creek, a void which was filled when the decision was made to move the national offices of the Federal Civil Defense Agency from Washington, D.C. and the Staff College of the National Civil Defense Training Agency at Olney, Maryland, to Battle Creek. The former hospital was again remodeled, this time to prepare America for the possibility of an atomic attack. It planned and coordinated volunteer technical services, public education, health and welfare services, shelters, attack warning and communications. Also in 1954 the General Services Administration (GSA) began managing buildings for the U.S. government.

The Percy Jones Hospital and Civil Defense agencies were each sole occupants of the buildings. In 1959, GSA began utilizing all the space of the facility by opening it to other federal organizations. To mark this new era, the name of the facility was changed to The Battle Creek Federal Center. By 1962, 28 different organizations were housed here, ranging in size from one to hundreds of employees.

Despite the numerous tenants, the departure of OCDM, the successor agency of the FCDA, in 1962 left a gap in Battle Creek. Two organizations, the Sixth Corps of the U.S. Fifth Army and the Defense Logistics Services Center (DLSC), were transferred to the Battle Creek Federal Center in 1962. Although the Sixth Corps eventually left in 1968, the DLSC remains as a principal tenant of the facility along the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) and the Air Force's Cataloging and Standardization Center (CASC).

Building 2 and its radiating wings (2A, 2B and 2C) was constructed in 1902-1903 for the Battle Creek Sanitarium. These structures also served as part of the Army's Percy Jones General Hospital Complex during the 1940's and 1950's. It became part of the Battle Creek Federal Center complex in the 1960's. The buildings presently house numerous federal agency offices.

The historical significance of the Federal Center has been officially recognized. In 1974, Buildings 2, 2A, 2B, and 2C, the main sanitarium structures, were listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1989, Buildings 1 and 1A, the "towers addition" were placed on the City of Battle Creek and the State of Michigan Registers of historic Places. A historic marker was installed at the corner of Champion and Washington Streets in May 1990.

Description Architect
1902 Original Construction Andrews, Frank M.
Last Reviewed: 2021-09-07