Retirement Home: Post-Civil War:
During Lincoln's time, most Soldiers' Home residents were foreign-born, mainly Irish or German. Far from their families, these immigrant veterans of the War of 1812 or Mexican War needed institutional care. The influx of Civil War veterans reversed the ethnic mix and swelled the population. By 1890, more than 1,000 mostly native-born men were living here.
The 20th century brought many changes to the Soldiers' Home, which was renamed the Soldiers' and Airmen's Home in 1947. The first women were admitted in the mid-1950s, and racial segregation officially ended in 1963. Renamed again in 2001, the Armed Forces Retirement Home continues to offer a retirement community to veterans who have served 20 years on active duty or were disabled while on active duty or due to wartime service. As of 2007, nearly 1,100 veterans were living here. Much of the funding has always come from the soldiers themselves, through monthly active duty payroll deductions of enlisted men and women.