Eisenhower Suite

The President's 1955 Heart Attack

A suite of rooms on the eighth floor of Building 500, formerly Fitzsimons Army Hospital, commemorates the site of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's seven-week stay as he recovered from a heart attack in 1955.

Small and unpretentious by today's standards, the Eisenhower Suite includes the president's hospital room, a Secret Service sitting room and a nurse's office. Other rooms in the suite have been converted into offices and restrooms in the building that now serves as an administrative center on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. 

Eisenhower began experiencing symptoms of a heart attack about 1:30 a.m. Sept. 24 during an annual vacation to Denver with first lady, Mamie Eisenhower, who grew up in Colorado.

He attributed severe chest pains to indigestion from a hamburger with onions he'd eaten the day before following a round of golf. 

His physician was called, but it was 12 hours later when the Secret Service transported the president to the Army hospital, where he was diagnosed with a heart attack.

Eisenhower's recovery was steady and uneventful, but a worried nation sent thousands of cards and flowers that lined the hallways. As he grew stronger, he often went to the large eighth-floor sundeck where he used binoculars to scan the mountains. Mamie Eisenhower appeared daily on the deck at 4:30 p.m. to wave to friends and well-wishers who gathered on the hospital grounds.

President Eisenhower was released on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, and then spent a few weeks on his farm in Gettysburg, Penn. He went on to win re-election in 1956 and died in March 1969. 

In 1996, much of the former military base including the hospital was deeded to CU. Built in 1941 with art deco design elements, the building is now on the National Historic Register. 

Rooms in the suite were restored in 2000 prompted by public interest in the building's history.

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