DeWitt State Hospital

From Asylum Projects
Jump to: navigation, search
DeWitt State Hospital
Construction Began 1943
Opened 1947
Closed 1972
Current Status Closed
Building Style Cottage Plan
Alternate Names
  • DeWitt General Hospital


The following information was obtained from Hospital Annual Reports on former DeWitt General Hospital for the years 1943 through 1945. Construction of former DeWitt General Hospital was approved on 25 March 1943, with a tentative completion date set for 15 November 1943. The hospital was activated as Auburn General Hospital on 15 August 1943 per Headquarters, Ninth Service Command General Order 96, dated 12 August 1943. It was designated DeWitt General Hospital per War Department General Order 48, dated 24 August 1943 and confirmed by General Order 122, Headquarters, Ninth Service Command, dated 4 October 1943. DeWitt General Hospital officially opened on 27 February 1944. Its function was "to receive and treat war casualties as well as those from the Zone of Interior posts, camps, and stations"

The hospital initially furnished general hospital treatment for the Reno Army Air Base, Chico Army Air Field, Camp Beale, Camp Kohler, McClellan Field, and the Sierra Ordnance Depot. With cessation of the war and a large influx of overseas patients, DeWitt General Hospital was relieved of a majority of Zone of Interior patients with the exception of their own duty personnel. DeWitt General Hospital "was designated a hospital center for the care of neurosurgery, vascular (both medical and surgical), neuropsychiatry (both open and closed ward), general and orthopedic surgery, in addition to general medical type of patients".

A Dental Branch was present at the hospital as well. In 1944, DeWitt General Hospital was temporarily selected as an amputation center, but the idea was abandoned due to a lack of space and a shortage of equipment and trained personnel. Hospital occupancy peaked on 30 August 1945 with 2,310 patients.

DeWitt General Hospital was declared surplus on 31 December 1945 and the War Assets Administration (WAA) assumed custody of the Site on 24 June 1946. The Site was conveyed to the State of California by quitclaim deed executed on 15 March 1947. As a part of this conveyance four conditions had to be met. According to the first, for a period of 25 years from the date of this conveyance, the property had to be continuously used as and for a mental institution. The second condition stated the premises could not be resold or leased within the first 25 years without authorization from the WAA. The third condition listed the reporting requirements for the state. Finally, the fourth condition was the procedures to be followed if the first three conditions could not be met. The deed states that all and singular tenements, hereditaments, and appurtenances were transferred to the State of California. According to the State Archive's Online Archive of California, the hospital began receiving patients in early 1947.

Initially, DeWitt State Hospital could only receive patients on transfer due to overcrowding in other state mental hospitals. It was equipped to receive both mentally ill and mentally deficient patients. DeWitt State Hospital became a permanent hospital in July 1950, when it began receiving first admissions directly from local communities, including the counties of Modoc, Lassen, Sierra, Yuba, Sutter, Placer, and El Dorado. The hospital had exceeded its rated capacity with over 2,800 patients by 1960, but the number of patients subsequently declined until DeWitt State Hospital was closed in 1972. The federal government deed restrictions expired on 15 March 1972. Correspondence from the Office of Surplus Property Utilization, California Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, stated that upon completion of the 25-year use of the property as a mental institution, it was the intention of the Administration to transfer the property to the County of Placer for further public use, effective 1 April 1972.

Assembly Bill No. 1748, dated 12 April 1972, created the DeWitt Hospital Authority Act to be administered by the Placer County Board of Supervisors. The act made the transfer to the County of Placer, at no cost to the county, in a manner agreeable to the county. If the county ceases to use the property for public purposes, the property will revert to the state. This act was an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the Constitution, and it went into immediate effect. The act was made necessary because it is imperative in terms of maintenance and operation of expensive machinery and facilities that the machinery and facilities not be allowed to sit idle. During a regular meeting, the Board of Supervisors, County of Placer, State of California, accepted Resolution No: 72-392 on 27 June 1972. By acceptance of this Resolution, the County of Placer consented to the acceptance and recordation of the attached deed, and accepted for public purposes the real property, or interest therein or easements thereon.

Currently, the majority of the Site is known as the DeWitt Government Center. It serves as the primary government center for Placer County. The Placer County Jail and Juvenile Detention Facility are present south of B Avenue and west of Richardson Drive. In addition, several professional services Land surrounding the Site is developed for residential, commercial, and professional use.[1]