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Author Topic: Willmar State Hospital  (Read 11843 times)
Britt04
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« on: March 11, 2008, 09:48:34 AM »

I was wondering if anyone had thought about investigating the Willmar State Hospital.  My great grandma and grandpa used to work there back in the day and she used to tell me that there were weird things that always would go on there.  For instance food would all the sudden dissapear when it was always locked up.  Lights woud go on with out anyone doing it etc. etc.  I know that it is currently owned by Life Science Innovations and part of it is also owned by the City of Willmar for troubled youth and alcholics.

I know back when my great grandmother worked there they sent everyone with tuberculosis and other nasty desises there.  It was like the only hospital in the state that would take very sick sick people that would contaminate the town.  Plus it had an area where they had a psych ward where they would house the "crazy people"

I think it would be worth checking into...I mean can't hurt to try!
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kmott4
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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2008, 09:51:29 AM »

That would be flippin sweet Britt, I think we should start asking around to find if people know of any other places in or around the Willmar area. I have read about the cemetary in Renville, but other then that I don't know of anything...
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2008, 11:20:56 AM »

That sounds like it would be a interesting place to go..
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Britt04
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2008, 01:00:03 PM »

I have done a lot of research today on this area and I will be posting about the site tonight.
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Britt04
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2008, 05:36:21 PM »

So with the research that I have done to night on the state hospital...I thought I would share with you all!  It's quite interesting although I was not able to find anything about specific hauntings other than what my great grandma used to tell us, or what not but I thought that you all would like to know some of the facts about this place.

The State Hospital in Willmar had 4 names...
1.  Willmar Hospital Farm for Inebriates --1912
2.  Willmar State Asylum -- 1917
3.  Willmar State Hospital -- 1937
4.  Willmar Regional Treatment Center -- 1985

The land was first bought by a famous pioneer solider, frontiersman and Indian fighter named Mr. Solomon Foot.  He received part of the land through the government in the 1860's because he was a veteran.

The other part of the land was owned by the St. Paul and Pacific railway Company which James J. Hill headed.  The land owned by the railroad was sold to Leon Willmar in 1869 (the town is named after this man).  Mr. Willmar gave the farm to his son Paul who erected $12,000 worth of buildings on the land.    the settlers told many stories about his strange farming methods but that he was a nice neighbor.  During the grasshopper plauge in 1876 through 1877 he spent a great deal of money on trying to keep the area free of grasshoppers but had no success.

After 10 years on the farm he returned to Belgium and the estate was purchased in 1882 by a sheriff's sale.  The owner who bought it was Katherine R. Doud who sold it in 1889 to Peter Dale.  The Dales's sold the entire land to David N. Tallman in 1889.

In April of 1907 the Minnesota government passed an act authorizing the establishment if a State Hospital Farm for Inebriates.  The people that would attend there were alcoholics, and people addicted to narcotics.  The site the government chose was the Tallman farm.  In 1909 they purchased the estate for $39,763.10 which was huge money in that day of age!

The railroad was contracted free of charge to build a "spur track" that would connect the building site to railroad.  On December 26, 1912 34 men and 4 women arrived to the Hospital for Inebriates to begin treatment. Most of these first patients would generally stay for 9 months to a year.  5 months after the hospital opened the Dr. died unexpectedly and another superintendent stepped in.  The hospital also could not keep their patients in residence as they would escape.  In the first 18 months of operation 84 men and females excaped.  Through the next 10 years over 314 people escaped.  Prohibition was the next huge thing to hurt business in the hospital.

There was an increasing number of mentally ill people in Minnesota, so the government signed a bill in 1917 to make the inebriate farm a state asylum for the insane.  The type of people that were commited there were people that would be life long wards of the state.  By 1919 the mens portion of the asylum was overfilled and constuction began much more.  In order to keep up with all the people being brought here they had to construct tunnels under all of the buildings.


In 1926 Theodore Sampson made a cemetary plot on the east side of Swan Lake about 1.25 miles from the asylum.  Patients with no immediate families or a way to pay for private funerals were burried here and the first patient buried happend in 1926 in an unmarked grave.  The cemetary to this day holds 988 graves.

Because of the many people and over crowding the asylum had the patients would be marked with a silver paint that would not was off for years.  Violent patients would be chained to radiators, chairs, bound in straight jackets or put on a leash that was connected to a hook in the wall.  Many of these patients would chew thru these restraints and kill or seriously hurt each other.  Because of this, all violent patients would have every tooth in their mouths removed.  Many of the patients had been kept in restraints for so long that they forgot how to use their hands or legs.

When world war ii happened the asylum was so over crowed and trains full of people kept coming.  Although with all money going to military means, and many men and women going off to work the hospital was short on cash and short of staff.  Many patients died during this time because of lack of food and horrible conditions.  During the tuberculosis outbreak many people were put into the 2 cottages to seperate them from the area so that they would not inffect others.  In fact many of them had died as well there.

That is a shorter version than I had planned on telling but I think you all get the main drift.  Int the 80's it was sold to Willmar being that advances in medicine made it able for mentally ill patients to be in the communities.  It also helped that there were many other means of help as well.  It finally was sold to life science a few years ago and Kandiyohi county owns some of the buildings for troubled youth and meetings for AA and such.  They have the buildings so that they can still help some members of this community.

My aunt worked there and said when conditions were very rough they were doing experiments on bodies there as well as pulling teeth of everyone that was a patient there.  In fact there were 4 moruges and 3 surgery sites on the property for a long time.  Some of the buildings were demolished but there are many original buildings there.  It would be very intresting to go take some time and spend there.  See if there is anything that would happen or if there were any claims.
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Cherokee
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2008, 01:59:55 AM »

 Now permits need to be checked out. Or permission to investigate.
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Cher
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2008, 08:32:25 AM »

Does sound like a interesting place.. Probably hard to get permission though.
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kmott4
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2008, 07:45:43 AM »

I am assuming we'd have to talk to the city about it. I don't know that we'd be able to get in there, seeing as they are using the site for something else now.
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2008, 10:02:39 AM »

Usually those kinds of places you aren't able to get into. But still be interesting.
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Britt04
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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2008, 09:51:32 AM »

Well I know being in the realestate business that only 3 of the buildings are owned by the city.  The other buildings are owned by Life Science Innovations, which might be a better chance than the city.  I think tonight Im going to go there and stand on the doorstep pouting until they let us in there at some point LMAO JK! Tongue
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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2008, 01:31:54 PM »

lol, well good luck
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kmott4
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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2008, 01:38:18 PM »

HAHA! You pout and I will throw a tantrum! That'll make em open up!
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Cherokee
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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2008, 04:41:10 PM »

 LOL be careful, they may just admit you. But then again if they do it would give Mel an excuse to go there for a visit LOL.
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Cher
Britt04
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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2008, 05:13:08 PM »

See with all our thoughts and ideas we'll get in there somehow!
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Britt04
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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2008, 05:36:23 PM »

So I went to the website of the owners who currently own the majority of the property out there and they actually have virtual tours there as well as this...

"If you would like more information or would like to schedule a tour of MinnWest Technology Campus, please feel free to contact:

Steve Salzer, General Manager
1700 Technology Drive NE Suite 101
Willmar, MN 56201
320.222.9770
info@mnwesttechnology.com"

So, maybe they would be so offened to have someone come in.  If we say we are free and doing this for experiment.  I dont know I just have high hopes for this place lol.  I know I go really over board!
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