Cherokee State Hospital

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Cherokee State Hospital
Cherokee State Hospital
Construction Began 1884
Opened 1902
Current Status Active
Building Style Kirkbride Plan
Architect(s) Henry F. Liebbe
Peak Patient Population 1,725 in 1945
Alternate Names
  • Cherokee State Hospital for the Insane
  • Cherokee Mental Health Center


This hospital was the last of the four state mental hospitals to be built in Iowa and the only one where the main building, a connected complex in echelon plan, was fully completed before the hospital was opened to patients. The architects were an Iowa firm, Josselyn and Taylor, and the overall form and massing of component portions of the building suggests a French chateau, while the small-scale decorative motifs are those of the Queen Anne Revival Style. The functional arrangements reflect a moderately conservative approach for the times in the care of mental illness.

From the "BOARD OF CONTROL OF STATE INSTITUTIONS, From Iowa Official Register 1909-1910" pages 262-269 Superintendent-M. NELSON VOLDENG, M.D. First Assistant Physician-BENJAMIN R. McALLASTER, M.D. Second Assistant Physician-T.L. LONG, M.D. Third Assistant Physician-HARRY D. EARL, M.D. Woman Physician-LENA A. BEECH, M.D. Steward-A.J. RAE Matron-ELLA McNIVEN

The allowance for support is $15 per capita until population exceeds 600, then $14 per capita per month until population exceeds 750, when it is reduced to $13 per capita per month. When the population exceeds 900 the per capita per month allowance is to be $12. The excess over $12 per capita per month is paid from the state treasury.

This institution was the place where Dr. Walter Freeman, "The Lobotomist" had killed a patient when he stepped back for a photo.[1]

Images of Cherokee State Hospital

Main Image Gallery: Cherokee State Hospital