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 »

R.E. Lee Steiner Serves 19 Years, 1926

30 01 2012

Dr. R.E. Lee Steiner served as superintendent of the Oregon State Hospital from 1908 (when he officially took office) through 1937.  The following article was published in the Oregon Statesman March 28, 1926.

Dr. R.E. Lee Steiner was born in 1870, at Bluffton, Ohio.  When he was 12 years old he began work as an apprentice druggist at Lima, Ohio.  He came to Salem with his parents in 1887.  He soon went to work in the drug store of Geo. E. Good, in the the Moores building that stood where the present United States National Bank building now stands.  After Mr. Good sold out to Gibson & Singleton, he continued to work for the new firm.  When he was 19, he went into business for himself, in partnership with Hon. J.C. Smith, now of Grants Pass. They had bought the drug store in which young Steiner was working.  The firm name was Smith & Steiner.  The telephone office was in their building — the first telephone office in Salem, excepting for a few phones that had been in the Western Union telegraph office.  In 1892, Dr. Steiner married Belle Golden of Salem.  After his marriage he attended the Willamette university and graduated from the medical department of that institution.

He practiced in Dallas, and then at Lakeview, and after that had charge of the reclamation service work of the United States government at Klamath Falls, the hospital for tat service being there.  He served a term in the legislature while residing at Lakeview in 1905.

In 1907 he came from the reclamation work to be superintendent of the state hospital (asylum), and has been at the head of that institution ever since — for nineteen years.  That is the longest time ever served by a superintendent there.  Dr. Calbreath served eight years, most of the other heads of the institution four years; one five years. Read the rest of this entry »

OSH Campus according to Engineer Garson, 1958

3 10 2011

Auditorium, Oregon State Hospital, Oregon State Archives Photo, OSH 00018

The following is an interview with Engineer J.A. Garson published in the October 1958 edition of the Lamplighter, an OSH newsletterThe article coincided with the 75th anniversary of the Oregon State Hospital, and many early staff members and patients are interviewed or profiled. 

When Mr. Garson came to the hospital in 1919, it looked much different than it does now.  For example, from 24th to 21st streets there were hospital orchards of walnut trees.  Where the treatment and surgical buildings sit were poultry and pheasant farms for OSH.  The doctor’s cottages were not in existence, and in their place were berry fields.  The machine shop was located where what is now the freezing department.  The morgue building, 1896, is what is today the paint shop.  The Tailoring Shop, Carpenter Shop were all where the Quonset hut is now located.  Mrs. Steiner, with her superintendent husband, planned the landscaping of the grounds and due to patient labor they were completed.  Read the rest of this entry »

Long Illnes Comes to an End, 1930

25 07 2011

The following is an obituary published in a Salem paper June 15, 1930.  Dr. Lewis Frank Griffith, then Assistant Superintendent of the Oregon State Hospital, died June 14.

Served faithfully at State institution 39 Years; Widely Honored

Dr. Lewis Frank Griffith, recognized as one of the leading alienists and psychiatrists in the United States, passed away at 5:35 o’clock yesterday evening at his home here.  Dr. Griffith, who had been seriously ill for several months and whose death has seemed imminent more than once in that period died peacefully, being unconscious the last few hours.  His immediate family and a sister, Mrs. Helen Giese of Portland, were with him when death stretched forth his hand.

Lewis Frank Griffith was born June 3, 1868 on the old Griffith homestead 12 miles east of Salem in the Waldo hills.  He was the son of Lewis C. and Susan Margaret Griffith, early Oregon pioneers.  His first schooling was in the little country school of his district, but he entered the Salem schools while still in the elementary grades.  Later he was graduated from Willamette university and after that he taught school for a time in the Eldriedge school in Mission Bottom. Read the rest of this entry »

Standard Hospital Asylum and Institution Directory, 1928

18 04 2011

The Standard Hospital Asylum and Institution Directory, written by M.F. Teehan and Published by Standard Publishing in Topeka, Kansas, was the directory for hospital workers.  In addition to topical essays on general practices within asylums and institutions, it lists all institutions in the country (and some in the Caribbean as well) and provides detailed information on such things as staff housing situations, uniforms, staff entertainment, time off per week, salaries paid, size and layout of the hospital, size of the nearest town and approximate transportation fare between the town and the hospital.

It had the following to say about Oregon’s 3 institutions at the time [I have expanded upon the original abbreviations for the purpose of clarity]:

Eastern Oregon State Hospital, [closest town] Pendleton — Population 8,000. 2 miles. 50 c taxi fare.
Wing [layout].  Dr. W.D McNary [Superintendent].  Patients 800.  Employees 75. Physicians 3.  Semi-weekly amusements.  Partial married quarters. Uniform: stripe gingham, belted at waist, bib and strap, white apron.  Duty hours: 12.5-14.  Night Duty hours: 10.  Time Off: 3 afternoons a week.

Read the rest of this entry »