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Willard State Hospital |+|
|Title= State Hospital
In 1853, the site was acquired for the state 's first agricultural college. The college - on 440 acres of farmland in the town of Ovid, "the geographical centre and Eden of the Empire State" - opened in December 1860, but it didn't last long. Within months, its president and most of the teachers and students marched off to fight in the Civil War, and the college never reopened. It was superseded by the new state university, established in Ithaca on land donated by state Senator Ezra Cornell. |+|
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|−|Soon afterward, the site was earmarked for the Willard Asylum for the Insane, which would represent a second and major step toward transferring responsibility for the care of the mentally ill to the state. From colonial times, the care of insane persons had been a local function. Each county operated a poorhouse, or almshouse, wherein was indiscriminately lodged a hodgepodge of dependant persons: the mad, the feebleminded, the aged and crippled, drunks, epileptics and beggars. The almshouses provided custody and shelter, but "treatment" was not in their vocabulary. |+|
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|−|The first step toward state assumption of responsibility was the opening of the Utica Lunatic Asylum in 1843. Utica was established as a treatment facility. It was reserved for new, acute eases and was required by law to return to county custody any patient who was not discharged as recovered within two years. Still condemned to the almshouse were the incurables, who, contrary to the unreal expectations of early asylum enthusiasts, were the norm among the pauper lunatic class. Dorothea Dix, among others including the underfunded county superintendents of the poor, drew the Legislature's attention to the unspeakable plight of the chronically ill. [[ Willard State Hospital|Click here for more...]] |+|
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Hastings State Hospital Nebraska
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...