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Featured Article Of The Week

Hastings State Hospital Nebraska


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With the population of the state increasing, the need for another hospital became evident, and in 1887, the legislature appropriated $75,000 for a "state asylum for the incurably insane" to be located at Hastings if the city would donate 160 acres of land for the purpose. The citizens of Hastings purchased 160 acres one mile west of the city limits. The land area was eventually increased to 630 acres. Patients were first received at the hospital on August 1, 1889 when forty four were transferred from Lincoln. Melvin Meals was assigned Number One and remained a patient until his death in 1895. Through 1916, 4,115 patients had been received. In December, 1916 there were 1,152 inmates, 405 women and 747 men.

Charles C Rittenhouse, Hastings architect, drew the plans for the building which was a three story brick with a tall central tower. In 1891 the north and south wings were added to the original building and in 1902 the North Annex was erected. In 1904 an amusement hall was built where dances and entertainments were held for patients. During this period the farm cottage and two greenhouses were built. In 1914 a large dairy barn was built and a herd of Holstein cows milked each day. A medical surgical building was erected in 1926, and in 1938 a psychiatric hospital was built. In 1957 the All Faiths Chapel was built with funds from thousands of donors.

Politics were the essential requisite for the job of superintendent in the early days of the institution. Dr. M. W. Stone, the first superintendent, came from Wahoo in May, 1889. Click here for more...