Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On this date in Minnesota History: June 26

June 26, 1986 – Built in 1888, the Fergus Falls State Hospital was named to the National Register of Historic Places on this date. “When the Fergus Falls State Hospital opened its doors on July 29, 1890, it became the first state institution in northern Minnesota for patients considered insane. The hospital had a sprawling campus and large stately buildings, built according to the influential asylum plan developed by Philadelphia physician Thomas Kirkbride in the 1850s.”

“By 1885, Minnesota's state institutions for people with mental illnesses were badly overcrowded. The State Board of Health declared in 1872 that the facilities at the St. Peter Hospital for the Insane were appalling and a disgrace to the state. Even after a second hospital was established in Rochester in 1877, conditions remained inadequate. In response, in 1885, the state legislature commissioned the Third Minnesota State Hospital for the Insane. Since the existing hospitals were in southern Minnesota, the new hospital was to be north of the Twin Cities. Fergus Falls was soon chosen as the hospital site, and the name of the institution was changed to the Fergus Falls State Hospital.”

Fergus Falls Hospital in 1915

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