Ward Hall Description, 1883

27 09 2012

Listen to a description of wards at the Oregon State Hospital, published in the October 24, 1883 edition of the Morning Oregonian.

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A Visit to the Oregon State Hospital, 1916

5 08 2012

This is an excerpt from the Oregon Teacher’s Monthly magazine published in May 1916 (volume 20, no. 9).  Oregon Teacher’s Monthly featured articles written by teachers, students and administrators related to general interest topics and had a news section with a county by county listings of school-related events.  We came across this issue in the holdings of the Oregon State Library.  This excerpt is chapter 10 in a series of articles written by Frank K. Welles, Assistant State Superintendent of Public Instruction, on state institutions.  The information he presents appears to have come from studying published reports of the hospital and a personal tour.

 OUR OREGON STATE INSTITUTIONS

The Oregon State Hospital

 Some of the school children who will read this article have never visited a hospital for the insane and will be interested to know what such an institution looks like, how the hundreds of patients are cared for, what they do and how they live.  The modern hospital for the insane is quite a different institution from what it used to be.  Now it is indeed a hospital for the treatment of persons with deranged minds, most of whom also have some physical ailment, rather than simply an asylum for the detention and safe-keeping of the insane.

Oregon has two hospitals for the insane.  One is situated just east of the city limits of Salem and the other is a short distance west of Pendleton in Umatilla county.  The Eastern Oregon State Hospital was built during 1911 and 1912 and is modern in every respect.  As soon as this institution was completed, 325 patients were transferred to it from the Salem hospital in order to relieve the over-crowded condition at the latter place.  As far as possible, the insane from Eastern Oregon are sent to Pendleton and those from Western Oregon to Salem. The number of insane is increasing so rapidly that the last legislature authorized the construction of a new $100,000 wing to the Pendleton hospital.  This has recently been completed.  There is also a fine farm in connection with that institution.  The last report of the superintendent shows that there are now about 379 insane persons at the Pendleton hospital. Read the rest of this entry »





Patients Manage Recreation Plans, 1961

7 05 2012

The following article was published in the Capital Journal on April 28, 1961.

A girl who had talked to no one for seven years — separated from reality by an “escape mechanism” barrier– has shown her first progress through recreation therapy at Oregon State Hospital.

Brought by a staff aide to “The Hut,” she eventually accepted an invitation to dance with another patient.

“The Hut” will be one of two recreation halls to be viewed by visitors to open house Sunday from 1 to 4:30 pm.  Operated by a governing group of patients called the Quoncil, the quonset hut-shaped building is the site of patient-planned parties and dances.

Plan Recreation

The general public sometimes regards the mentally ill as being incompetent and unable to take responsibility, commented Mrs. Ida Boehmer, recreational therapy department director. Read the rest of this entry »





State Hospital Jewish Rites Inaugurated, 1961

2 04 2012

The following was published in the Oregon Statesman newspaper on April 3, 1961, page 2.

Jewish Passover services with traditional ceremonial Seder dinner was observed Sunday night at the Oregon State Hospital for patients of that faith and their guests.  It is the first time a Jewish religious observance has been held at the institution, hospital authorities said.

They termed it a “complete success” and hospital protestant chaplain John M. Humphreys said: “we’re hoping to be able to hold more Jewish services in the future.”

The Jewish festival, commemorating exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and their safe flight across the Red Sea, was sponsored by the Jewish Family and Children Read the rest of this entry »





Blaze Destroys State Hospital Farm Barns, 1931

19 03 2012

The following is an article from the Oregon Statesman published May 31, 1931.

Blaze Destroys Two State Hospital Farm Barns, Loss $40,000

Excited Inmate Dashes Into Inferno, Saved With Shirt Burned

——–

Believed Incendiary; Cattle all Saved, Two by Force

Fire thought to be incendiary totally destroyed two large barns at the state hospital farm, four and one half miles east of here, at 9:15 o’clock last night.  The loss on the structures and the contents is estimated at $40,000.

More than 100 head of cattle had been turned out only a few hours before the flames started.  None of these were lost although two bulls, at large after keepers had loosed them, started back into the flames but were repelled by their keepers.

Man Rushes Back, Shirt Burned Off

No inmates of the hospital farm were in the barns when the flames were seen but one man, apparently deranged by the fire, started back into the blaze.  Keepers rescued him but not until his shirt was burned.  It was necessary to handcuff him to keep him away from the fire.

Attendants at the state hospital farm did not discover the flames until they had started to lick their way through the roof of the large barn.  The headway the fire had gained inclined them to the theory that some inmate had started the blaze.  A few years ago a state hospital inmate started another fire. Read the rest of this entry »





Asylum Sidewalk, 1885

30 11 2011

It is hard to imagine, but when the Oregon State Hospital was built, it stood in farmland about half a mile outside the city limits of Salem.  The route between town and the hospital would, as this article suggests, get pretty mucky when the rainy season came.  Four years before Salem’s official street car debut, a raised wooden walkway definitely sounded like a good idea to the 27 year old Edward J. Frazier (1857-1935)[1], a New York native who grew up on his father Alexander Frazier’s farm in North Salem.[2]  Frazier (or Frasier as the spelling would mutate during his life) would go on to be a prosperous real estate agent in Eugene.[3]  Perhaps this was the beginning of his career? 

THE ASYLUM SIDEWALK

Ed. J. Frazier, who is trying to raise money for a sidewalk from the city on Asylum avenue to the asylum, has nearly a sufficient amount subscribed to buy the material for the walk.  Most of the property owners along the avenue have agreed to bear the expense of putting down the walk.  The lumber can be laid down $2 per thousand cheaper than after the rains set in.  Mr. Frazier will call on you again for subscriptions.  The walk should be laid down now, and it is hoped enough can be raised to buy the materials. Read the rest of this entry »





Congratulations Mr. Mommsen!, 1958

2 11 2011

Dr. Dean K. Brooks, Governor Robert Holmes and Thomas Mommsen accepting award.  The Suggestor.  May 1958.The following is an article from the May 1958 edition of The Suggestor, a newsletter published by the Oregon State Employee Awards Board.

Congratulations, Mr. Mommsen!

After switching his attention from cutting meat to cutting costs, THOMAS N. MOMMSEN, meat cutter at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, was presented a $400 award.  In the above picture Mommsen, on the right, is shown receiving his award from Governor ROBERT D. HOLMES as State Hospital Superintendent DEAN BROOKS looks on approvingly at the left.

Mommsen’s suggestion, which also won high praise from Gov. Holmes, involved processing and freezing of meat available from the hospital’s dairy herd and subtracting the amount from the hospital’s monthly contract for beef.  This will result in a reduction of 37,000 lbs. of meat that need to be purchased and will save the State and estimated $9,252 per year. Read the rest of this entry »