Dunn County Insane Asylum

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Dunn County Asylum
Established 1891
Opened 1892
Closed 1971
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Single Building
Architect(s) John Charles
Location Menomonie, WI
Alternate Names
  • Dunn County Asylum for the Chronic Insane
  • Dunn County Hospital and Home


On February 4, 1891, the county board appointed a building commission with the responsibility of building an asylum. Mr John Charles of Mineral Point , WI was selected to prepare plans for the building. Within a month the asylum site was selected and purchased from the Knapp, Stout & Co. for $6000.00. Hackworthy and Hoeser, contractors from Appleton, WI were selected to construct the building on their bid of $35,783.00. Plumbing and gas were done for $2,480.00 by J.A. Trane of La Crosse, WI. Local contractor F.E. Peas constructed the root cellar, laundry and ice house for $2000.00. Heating and lighting were contracted for $7, 405.00. Last but not least "Sanitary Closets" and two "Vented Urinals" were purchased at the cost of $900.00.

The asylum was situated 1 1/2 miles east of Menomonie. The extreme length of the building was 235 feet and the width 120 feet. It was heated by hot water , lighted by gas and had a thorough system of ventilation. No asylum in the state was more complete in all of its appointments for the care and comfort of the patients. The building had four wards for the insane and could care for 117 patients.

The Dunn County Insane Asylum first patient was received on February 10, 1892. It cost less than $3.00 per week to maintain a patient in the asylum. By October of 1892 there were 111 patients in the asylum, 48 from Dunn County. There were no in house Doctors , but local doctor , Dr. N.L. Howison , would visit twice a week and was on call for any emergencies. It soon became a self-supporting institution with its own farm, producing more than needed, the extra milk, and farm crops were sold to local markets. Three men were employed on the farm and in the summer were assisted by trustworthy patients to care for the animals or work in the field and garden. In 1924 there was a net profit of $4,412.43 from farm and garden produce.

The name Asylum was changed to Dunn County Hospital in 1947. Then in 1972 a new building was erected under the name Dunn County Health Care Center.



Potters Field is located one mile east of the city limits in Menomonie, Dunn County, Wisconsin. It was the final resting place of a number of people who spent time at the Dunn County Asylum for the Chronic Insane or the Dunn County Poor Farm, or who died without resources to be buried. There are 105 known burials, HERE is a list of names known so far.