The Dayton VA Medical Center opened its doors in 1867 as the Central Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. By 1884, this facility, also known as the Dayton Soldiers Home, was caring for more than 7,000 Civil War Veterans and was the largest facility of its kind in the world. The Dayton Soldiers Home was the shining star that allowed the VA system to grow into what it has become today. Not only did the facility prepare Veterans to re-enter society through rehabilitative programs, it became the most popular travel destination west of the Allegheny Mountains. The intricate flower garden, lovely grotto, beautiful lakes, splendid groves, and cultivated lawns were nationally recognized in Harper’s Weekly. Year after year, the Dayton Soldiers Home was expanded. The construction of the Home Chapel, the second-oldest church built by the federal government, began in 1868. The Home Chapel attracted many dignitaries to Dayton: General Ulysses S. Grant spoke there as President in 1870, and Bishop Milton Wright (the father of the Wright Brothers) preached sermons there in 1897. The first electric organ in Montgomery County was installed in the Home Chapel in 1896. The original 300-bed hospital opened in 1870. Today, the Dayton VA Medical Center is a 500-bed facility that provides a full range of health care through medical, surgical, mental health, geriatric, physical and therapy services, neurology, oncology, dentistry, and hospice.