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In 1884 the state commission rallied for Clarinda to be the future site of Iowa's third mental asylum, which was to relieve crowding at the hospitals in Independence and Mt. Pleasant. Construction began July 1885 at a cost of $50,000. William Foster & Henry F. Liebbe of Des Moines were the architects. The Clarinda State Hospital
opened for patients in 1888. "At the time it was built, it was believed to be the largest building under one roof."