Ream Army General Hospital
One South County Road
Palm Beach, Florida 33480
Palm Beach County
This site is located in the Southeast region of the state.
From I-95, exit on Okeechobee Boulevard (Exit 52) and travel east for 2.5 miles. Okeechobee Boulevard ends at Flagler Drive. From the center lane, turn left onto Flagler Drive and veer immediately right onto the drawbridge. Continue over the Intercoastal Waterway to Palm Beach. Turn left at second traffic light after bridge onto South County Road (A1A). The Breakers is .5 mile on the right side at One South County Road.
This site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Anticipated casualties from the Allied invasion of Africa led to the conversion of the luxurious Breakers Hotel to a military hospital. Named to honor a flight surgeon killed in action, the Ream Army General Hospital opened in December, 1942. Specializing in neuro-psychiatry and plastic surgery, 500 hospital beds could be accommodated. Officers and nurses used the “Breakers Cottages” along the ocean to the north and south of the hospital as barracks.
Notable Palm Beach matrons donated their time as volunteers and many nationally known dignitaries, including Eleanor Roosevelt and Senator Harry Truman, visited the hospital patients. The several bands formed to entertain the hospital inmates also performed for the personnel at the other military installations in the area.
Political and economic pressures led to the return of The Breakers to hotel use by mid-year 1944.
The Breakers - Palm Beach