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.

The First Oregon State Hospital Replacement Project, 1883

16 09 2009
The Oregon State Hospital is in the midst of a rebirth. The Oregon State Hospital Replacement project is in full gear, working on revamping and replacing the well-worn J-building, which was itself part of a replacement project in 1883. The following is a transcription of an article appearing in the Morning Oregonian, October 24, 1883.


oregonian masthead cropped
The New Insane Asylum.

Full Description of the Home Prepared for the State’s Wards.


History of the Structure and the Manner in Which it was Erected.

[Special Correspondence of the Oregonian.]

Salem, Oct. 23.

The completion of the new insane asylum building and its readiness for the reception of the patients brings the institution into prominence, and demands at the hands of THE OREGONIAN a complete description of the building.  With this object in view your correspondent has recently visited the building, and from the architect and others has recurred facts and figures of sufficient interest to merit publication. We have availed ourselves of the privilege accorded us of examining and culling from the public records, and have found them convenient while authentic.


The legislative assembly of the state of Oregon for the year 1880 passed an act entitled “An act to provide for the construction of a brick insane asylum building, to levy a tax and appropriate money therefore;” which act was approved by the governor, October 25, 1880. By it was created a board of commissioners for its erection, which consisted of Hon. Z. F. Moody, governor, Hon. R. P. Earhart, secretary of state, and Hon. Edward Hirsch, state treasurer.  It evidently being the aim and intention of the legislative assembly to provide for the care by the state of the insane and idiotic patients immediately upon the expiration of the contract then existing between it and Dr. J.C. Hawthorne, as made by the governor under the provisions of an act approved October, 1878, which authorized and directed him to contract for the care and keeping of the insane and idiotic for six years from December 1, 1878, provided “that if, at the expiration of four years the state shall have provided a state insane asylum, then the contractor shall turn the patients under his charge over to the state,” the board lost no time in organizing, and entered upon its duties without unnecessary delay. W.F. Boothby, Esq., of Salem, was appointed supervising architect, and the board advertised for plans and specifications, a number of which were in due time prepared and presented for its consideration.  Being especially desirous when called upon to decide a question of such momentous importance to the public, to avail themselves of advice of persons of practical experience more particularly in relation it its sanitary requirements, the board called to its assistance several well known and experienced physicians from various parts of the state, including the late Dr. J.C. Hawthorne of East Portland, Dr. H. Carpenter of Portland, Dr. J.R. Bayley of Corvallis and Drs. S.R. Jessup and J.W. McAfee of Salem were present during the examination of the plans submitted, and whose suggestions were of great benefit to the board, evincing a desire on their part to allow no detail, however minute, to escape their attention that would in any degree ameliorate the condition of the unfortunate class for whose care and treatment the structure under advisement was to be erected.

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