Fergus Falls State Hospital

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Fergus Falls State Hospital
Fergus Falls State Hospital
Construction Began 1870
Construction Ended 1907
Opened 1890
Current Status Closed and Preserved
Building Style Kirkbride Plan
Architect(s) Warren B. Dunnell
Peak Patient Population 2,078 in 1937
Alternate Names
  • Third Minnesota State Hospital for the Insane
  • Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center (RTC)



History

Fergus Falls was the Third Hospital for the Insane, established by the Minnesota Legislature in 1887. Architect Warren Dunnell from Minneapolis, Minnesota used a layout proposed by Dr Thomas Kirkbride to allow patients a more natural environment. The hospital opened in July 1890 when it admitted 80 patients transferred from St. Peter State Hospital. Initially the hospital accepted only male patients, most of whom were from counties north of the Twin Cities. Within its first decade the hospital began to admit female patients. In 1893 the official name of the hospital was changed to Fergus Falls State Hospital. The facility was self-sufficient with its own farm, food service, laundry, workshops and power plant. The institution served 17 counties in northwestern and west central Minnesota, with the patient census reaching an all-time high of 2,078 in 1937.

In 1985 the name was changed to Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center. Patients came to the hospital either by being committed by a county probate judge or by volunteering themselves for treatment. Early hospital records list mania, melancholia, and dementia as the most prevalent mental illnesses.

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