In March 1864, president Abraham Lincoln asked Congress to construct the Hospital. It was constructed in July 1866, for $115,000. Designed to accommodate 50 patients, the new hospital had good ventilation and running water, and gas lighting.
In 1906, the hospital moved to its newly constructed facility at Observatory Hill, 23rd Street, and E Streets, N.W.
In 1922, the building became the Temporary Home for Veterans of All Wars. The property is still owned by the federal government but its jurisdiction was transferred to the District of Columbia in 1962. The building was vacant for many years.
The Friends of the Old Naval Hospital has raised money to restore the building, at an estimated cost of $12 million. The plan is for the Hill Center, to be a facility for education and community life on Capitol Hill. Restoration started in June, 2010.
The 1983 movie "D.C. Cab" filmed inside the building, using it as the set for a hospital scene with Sampson (Mr. T) and his niece.