Henry C. Koch was a Milwaukee architect who designed more than 300 buildings during his forty-year career, from 1870 to 1910. He was well known for his work on public buildings, including fifteen courthouses in Wisconsin and Illinois, and all the public schools built in Milwaukee from 1873 to 1881. The high point of his career was winning the design competition for Milwaukee City Hall, built in 1893-95. He was also the architect of the Pfister Hotel and Turner Hall.
Koch was the architect for almost all the major projects undertaken at the Northwestern Branch in the 1880s and 1890s. Koch qualified to design hospitals and he had the advantage of being a veteran himself. He was very active in veterans’ organizations, as one of the founders of the Wolcott Post of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1880 and an organizer of the state G.A.R. reunion in Milwaukee in 1880 and the national encampment in 1889.
In his design for the new hospital at the Soldiers Home (Building 6), Koch created an arrangement of three separate pavilions connected by corridors at the first floor. In this design, the administrative offices, examination, treatment, and operating rooms were located in the center pavilion with patient wards located in the side pavilions. The wards were the full width of the pavilions, allowing cross ventilation and daylight both morning and afternoon. This arrangement differed from Edward Townsend Mix’s design of the Main Building, in which the use of a double-loaded corridor plan placed the sleeping rooms on the sides of the building, preventing cross ventilation and allowing daylight for only morning or afternoon.
National Soldiers Home Historic District, National Register of Historic Places Nominination Form