The two-story plus basement, cream city brick building (17,600 square feet), known as the Headquarters' Building was built in 1896 at a cost of $9,999.27. Constructed as the administrative offices for the Soldiers' Home staff (except medical), this served as the main office of the VA Center until 1942. Since then it has been used as offices for the Domiciliary staff; offices for local American Legion and VFW Posts; the Legion Gift Shop.
Steel ceilings were installed in 1908, and partitions were added in 1909 at a cost of $948 Steel ceilings in the post office were added January 1912 at a cost of $202.
On motion of Colonel Mitchell, it was resolved that five thousand dollars from the 'Construction Fund' and five thousand dollars from the 'Post Fund' be appropriated for the erection of a Headquarters building at the Northwestern Branch, and that the present offices be converted into Barracks for the accommodation of members.
Proceedings of the Board of Managers of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Volume 2, June, 1891, page 418.
Colonel Mitchell moved to include in the estimates the sum of $15,000 for a Headquarters building at the Northwestern Branch. The subject was discussed at length, and the motion finally adopted on a call of the roll — General Black and Colonel Steele voting in the negative.
Proceedings of the Board of Managers of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Volume 2, September 1891, page 430.
The Headquarters Building (Building 1) is located just south of the Main Building, somewhat aligned with the east facade of the Main Building. It is east of the Library and Social Hall, and is positioned to create a sense of enclosure between the Main Building and Building 5 (barracks) of the north, the Social and Library on the south. There is a base remaining from a flagpole, which was located in the center of this enclosure; photographs identify this enclosure as the “parade grounds.”
The restraint of the Renaissance Revival style, the use of cream city brick, and the window treatment again suggest an attribution to Henry C. Koch. There is no firm evidence for such an attribution. Based on a reference to a project for a “building at the National Home” in an Inland Architect listing of Henry C. Koch’s projects for 1895, either the headquarters building, the quartermaster’s storehouse (Building 20), or the power plant (Building 45) may be attributed to Koch.127 It is likely that he would have identified the headquarters building or the powerhouse by its name if he had been the architect, which suggests that the 1895 Koch project was the storehouse. The storehouse is a large, utilitarian warehouse structure located along a siding of the former Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad. It is built of Milwaukee cream brick in an unadorned utilitarian style