Minnesota March 20, 2017
12 Staggering Photos Of An Abandoned Hospital Hiding In Minnesota
Nearly 200 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, a forgotten part of Minnesota history rises from among the
lakes of Otter Tail County. Opened just 32 years after Minnesota officially became a state, the Fergus Falls State Hospital is a beautiful building with a long history. Beyond its chipped paint and crumbling woodwork, the abandoned hospital stands as a reminder of the early days of Minnesota – and of medicine.
Fergus Falls State Hospital - originally called the Third Minnesota Hospital For The Insane - opened to patients in 1890. It was built to treat mentally ill patients in northern Minnesota.
By today's standards, the hospital is quite beautiful. But it was actually built to be as plain as possible, with little difference from one wing to the next.
The design was known as the Kirkbride Plan, a style of building championed by Thomas Kirkbride. The buildings were meant to be large and imposing, with patient wings set at right angles to the central administration building.
Thomas Kirkbride theorized that a strict, bare setting would provide needed discipline to the mentally ill.
The Kirkbride Plan often included large sections of land that were often tended to by patients. Fergus Falls State Hospital sits on 11 acres.
In addition to patients with mental illnesses, the hospital also housed those with developmental disabilities or chemical dependencies.
As the decades passed, the hospital population grew. In the early days, only males were sentenced to the hospital. Women were first admitted in 1893.
Later, changes in Minnesota law enabled people to commit themselves. Still, most were involuntarily sentenced.
Many patients were poor, with few resources enabling them to get them through troubled times. Most stayed for life.
As treatment methods changed to involve more drug therapy in the mid-20th century, more patients were able to leave the hospital. The hospital was forced to expand its purpose beyond mentally ill patients.
The hospital's name changed to the Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center in 1985. The following year, the hospital was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Still, the population continued to decline.
After its last patients were moved to other facilities, Fergus Falls Regional Hospital closed in 2005. The building still stands, though there has been debate over whether to tear it down or redevelop it. For now, it remains a fascinating time capsule of over a century of medicine.
Have you heard of Fergus Falls State Hospital? Let us know your thoughts! Also, check out the
haunted tunnel at Anoka State Hospital.