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.


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 »

Colony Farm History

6 02 2012

The following is an article written by Amy Vandegrift, development director at the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, Oregon for the Statesman Journal appearing Sunday, February 4, 2012.  It describes the Colony Farm, a property in West Salem owned and maintained by the Oregon State Hospital.

For much of its history, the Oregon State Hospital had a farm and garden department that met almost all the needs of the institution’s patients and staff.

The operations used staff and patient labor in the running of its dairy, hog and poultry operations and the garden truck for crops and hay produce. As reported by Don Upjohn, journalist for Capital Journal, Dec. 18, 1934, “The farm and garden department produced hundreds of thousands of pounds of vegetables and fruits. … As nearly as possible, the institution is made self-sustaining. One feature is rich garden lands in the river bottoms of Polk County.”

In addition to the hospital grounds and nearby Cottage Farm, the hospital also operated a farm in West Salem known as Colony Farm. These 403 acres of bottom land along the Willamette River were located off of Oregon Highway 22 on State Farm Road. In addition to acres of apple, cherry, walnut and filbert orchards, vegetable gardens and berry fields, the farm had a two-story barracks for hospital patients and staff, a kitchen/mess hall that included a large wood-burning stove, barn for the draft horses, shed for farm equipment, pump house, windmill and a house for the full time foreman and his family. Read the rest of this entry »

Asylum Report, 1897

15 12 2010

The following report was printed in the Salem-based  Capital Journal  newspaper April 6, 1897.  The author is particularly impressed by the productiveness of the Asylum Farms in the winter months.  Spelling is kept intact.


Files Its Monthly Report

Remarkable Facts that Prove Possibilities of Our Climate

The monthly report of Supt. Paine of the Oregon State Insane Asylum is summarized below.  It shows one insane patient for each 350 to 360 population.  But differing from practice of eastern states, Oregon does not return the incurables to the counties they come from.  The persons properly to be classed as insane are probably not over one in 500 or 600, if the custom of other states prevailed.

The report of the steward of products of the garden and dairy, and the the the showing of farming operations for January, February and March is also remarkable, and real estate agents had better sucure a certified copy from the office of the secretary of state before sending it to states where anything is frozen up all winter. Read the rest of this entry »