Placeography:Featured place/2012-05

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Fergus Falls State Hospital, 1400 Union Avenue North, Fergus Falls, Minnesota

State‐sponsored treatment of the mentally ill became a national trend during the late nineteenth century, and asylum buildings and mental hospitals were built in large numbers across the U.S. The Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center was built in 1888,accepted its first patients in 1906, treated thousands of the state’s mentally ill, and sustained the local economy with hundreds of jobs until its closure in 2005. The Fergus Falls complex was built using a model developed by Dr. Thomas S. Kirkbride, based on the belief that building design aided in the recuperation and maintenance of mental health. The Fergus Falls building remains one of a handful of intact Kirkbrides in the Midwest, and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Between 2002 and 2006, the state legislature approved $7 million in bond funds that were to be used for disposition of the RTC buildings and related infrastructure improvements. Ownership of the property was transferred to the city in 2007. The City Council of Fergus Falls will demolish the historic complex in the summer of 2012 unless an alternative solution is found. The Friends of the Kirkbride group was formed to advocate for the buildings and stop the demolition.

  • this text is courtesy of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.

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