Walter Reed Birthplace now owned by Gloucester Preservation Foundation

- Posted on May 29, 2013 - 02:03 PM

Photo: Walter Reed’s Birthplace at Belroi is now owned by the Gloucester Preservation Foundation. File photo

Walter Reed’s Birthplace at Belroi is now owned by the Gloucester Preservation Foundation. File photo

The Walter Reed Birthplace, subject of preservation efforts since 1926, is now owned by the Gloucester Preservation Foundation. A transfer of the cottage and small parcel to the foundation, a nonprofit corporation, was made from Preservation Virginia on May 23.

John Gillis, chairman of the Gloucester Preservation Foundation, explained that Preservation Virginia, long known as the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, obtained the cottage in 1968 from the Medical Society of Virginia, which acquired it in 1926 and restored it the next year.

For years the birthplace of the famous physician was under the stewardship of the Joseph Bryan Branch of APVA; Gillis, who is also director of that group, said the branch is no longer active.

Walter Reed, medical hero who discovered that mosquitoes transmit yellow fever, was born at the cottage in 1851. His father, the Rev. Lemuel Reed, was a Methodist minister serving at nearby Bellamy Methodist Church.

The family later moved to Charlottesville, where Walter entered the University of Virginia Medical School, completing its course at age 18 as its youngest graduate.

After further study at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, Reed received an additional medical degree. He joined the Army Medical Corps and with his wife Emilie Lawrence traveled the western frontier for more than 15 years. Reed was subsequently assigned to Cuba where, in 1898 during the Spanish-American War, he determined the cause of typhoid fever which was rampant in Army camps.