Milwaukee County Insane Asylum... was it a Kirkbride?

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After coming across this picture below i had to ask myself.... is it a kirk? I'm wondering what other people think.


countyinsaneasylummilwa.jpg

This one has a similar layout and size like some other small Kirkbrides such as Taunton and Jacksonville IL.

Has anyone come across any other pictures of this asylum?


* Larger Size image *
Edited On 12:37:54 AM - Mon, Jun 13th 2011 by Duffy

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Based solely on this picture I'd vote for yes.

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Quote:WSH Mon 13th 1:41 pm
Based solely on this picture I'd vote for yes.

Looking at the picture it looks like it is an engineers conceptual drawing though, I am not sure that this is what the final lay out of the place looked like, though I could be wrong.


Interestingly the journal Sentinel did an article looking at burials at the site and found that the people buried at the asylum were buried separate from the folks at the poor farm. A link to the article on that and other things related to Milwaukee can be found here [1]

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I agree with WSH.
Without knowledge of the care and treatment methods it's not really possible to say if it is a 100% kirkbride. But the building its self does look like one. I would love to see more 'real' photos of this place if they exist, it's a nice looking building for a county asylum.
http://www.thomas-industriesinc.com/ - Author of Harrisburg State Hospital (Images of America). Owner of City on the Hill & Danville State Hospital websites.

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This particular picture is available on the standard wikipedia page for the asylum and it is noted that the design and building of the facility was actually awarded to someone other than the person who designed this picture, which is why i think the final design was different. The Wikipedia article states a Koch was picked over the designer of the picture E. Townsend Mix. Mr Mix is famous for building a lot of stuff in the Wisconsin area, mostly Milwaukee and surrounding towns, but the Koch suggested appears to be Henry C. Koch who was a contemporary of Mix and also a famous architect in the area. Koch did some larger works in Milwaukee and in different parts of Iowa, but is said to be most famous for his work on the Milwaukee city hall. I'll keep looking for a picture.

(The Marr and Richards listed at the bottom is probably from the engraving company that made the engraving of this picture; However their is also a Richard Marr that was an architect that worked on buildings in Michigan, including the historic Architects building at 415 Brainard St., in Detroit. Based on the date of this picture it has been suggested it is not his work, as he built the architecture building in Detroit in 1924, well after this etching was thought to have been made.)
Edited On 4:45:43 PM - Mon, Jun 13th 2011 by Evilavatar

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I'm seeing that it was built between 1878-1880. So it's the right time frame. I don't have the time to dig into this like I used to, but from a basic Google search it looks like all our answers should be fairly easy to figure out with a little leg work.

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I think we tried to figure it out on the old forum and never really came to a conclusion. That's why the page for it on the database has a ? after Kirkbride plan. Someone at the county archives was going to look for old photos for me but I never heard back.

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[1] These are the only pictures I have been able to find so far. The pictures on from the hospitals centennial and have information about the hospital and the asylum along with where it historically stood. The former facility was on the grounds of Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.

If you read this, the .pdf is only the first few pages of the overall paper written for the centennial. (It's actually a small book of about 60 pages, but the pictures of the campus show the facilities throughout the years. The actual hospital is where the asylum held some of the folks until the asylum itself was split into the chronically mentally ill and those people needing acute care.)

[2] Here's a link to another picture of the same building complex, this is supposed to be the hospital for the chronically insane, named the South Division and was built around 1888.
Edited On 1:20:41 PM - Thu, Jun 16th 2011 by Evilavatar

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Quote:Evilavatar Mon 13th 9:27 pm
[1] These are the only pictures I have been able to find so far. The pictures on from the hospitals centennial and have information about the hospital and the asylum along with where it historically stood. The former facility was on the grounds of Froedert Hospital in Milwaukee.

If you read this, the .pdf is only the first few pages of the overall paper written for the centennial. (It's actually a small book of about 60 pages, but the pictures of the campus show the facilities throughout the years. The actual hospital is where the asylum held some of the folks until the asylum itself was split into the chronically mentally ill and those people needing acute care.)

[2] Here's a link to another picture of the same building complex, this is supposed to be the hospital for the chronically insane, named the South Division and was built around 1888.

Thanks for the links, guess for now we'll keep it as a "Kirkbride ?". I'll have to ask around, I had a great aunt that worked there from time to time in the 1960s. She was a nun so I doubt they took many photos, too busy carrying those giant wood rulers. If you find anything else Evilavatar, feel free to add it to the page in the database.

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I have a call in to a friend at the Wisconsin Historical Society as I live in this state, so soon as I have something concrete I will post back and edit the wiki. I have not been able to find a top view picture of the hospital from prior to the demolition. Pictures of the campus now can be found on the Froedtert (pronounced fray-tert) Hospital site. I was up there about 2 months ago with my baby daughter and there are really no historic buildings left on the property that I saw. When searching their seems to be some confusion as people have posted pictures of the Milwaukee County School of Agriculture and Domestic Economy labeled as the insane asylum. Some of these are obviously wrong as one poster had pictures from 2008 posted, but the building was documented to have been torn down in 1980.
Edited On 1:44:27 PM - Wed, Jun 15th 2011 by Evilavatar

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[1] This is a link to a post card with a front view of the Milwaukee County Home for Dependent Children c1910. I am not sure but I think one of these buildings is the original Asylum. The Asylum split off into its own building, than additions were made and the building split again to separate the acute insane, from the folks that were "incurably insane".

All of the buildings on the grounds changed hands and there is a a ton of stuff that is and was here. The area was also annexed by the city of Milwaukee and has a Milwaukee address, but the Plank Road School is on the campus and run by Wauwatosa county teachers paid by the city of Milwaukee (at least I think that is how it works, but I may have read it wrong). In either case the whole history is pretty muddled. I've been trying to search all the histories to put everything together and make a time line of sorts, but it is slow going.


My final thought here is that it looks like this was probably more likely a cottage/rambling planned campus with lots of extra buildings and additions built as need arose.

Boy it's a good thing this has an edit button or I'd have a gazillion posts as I find more stuff.
[2] Link to a picture the old home for dependent children's administration building. I guess the Parks department took it over at some point.
Edited On 2:51:59 PM - Wed, Jun 15th 2011 by Evilavatar

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Thanks Evil

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I edited the Milwaukee County Asylum page to reflect both the history of the facility and what I could find on this picture. If anyone finds something I corrected is wrong please change it. I think both deserve to be posted, though I do believe that the picture attached is a design that was not used in the end. If I can get permission I will add a copy of some of the other pictures I found, they are part of the Wisconsin historical societies collection though so I am waiting to see if it is ok. Otherwise I may end up purchasing a copy of the pictures from them (I may do it anyway though too) and hosted them somewhere myself. I'll have to double check what the rules on it are.
Edited On 8:09:19 PM - Fri, Jun 17th 2011 by Evilavatar

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Looks fine to me, better then what I had before.

There shouldn't be a problem with using any of their photos here as long as the proper credit is given. Using photos on this site with permission is not a copyright infringement, this is a non-commercial/educational/historical site.

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I figured as much but as it's not my behind if they try to make legal waves I figured I'd be extra careful


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