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

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Any information you have to share, we'd be happy to have! I was told several years ago by the city, they have old photos but no budget to digitize them.

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My dad used to be the administrator foe this same hospital. I have original pictures but not currently home. The old buildings have been torn down but I believe the new addition still remains. We have original relics like bell from tower, stain glass windows, and hand carved printed press plate and picture of the grounds.

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I fortunately found Sanborn maps for the 2 asylums in Milwaukee. Milwaukee Hospital for the Insane has a very Kirkbride look, while the other Milwaukee County Asylum, not so much.

WImilwaukeemental1951.jpg
WImilwakeechronicinsane1951.jpg

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I know that the Milwaukee County Hospital For Mental Diseases stood on the former county grounds. This was the first and original asylum built in the 1880's. It served as the asylum for the people of Milwaukee. The old circle drive way still exists on the county grounds near WE Energies. Directly across Watertown Plank road is where the Milwaukee County Asylum Complex (bottom map) existed. It was built to supplement the original (top map) asylum on the county grounds.

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Quote:24.196.139.202 Sat 3rd 2:37 am
I was in the old Milwaukee County Childrens Home in 1967-68 (I was 14-15 at the time) and knew the County grounds fairly well at that point in time. There's far too much to tell in words here and almost all of the buildings are long demolished. We used to go to religious services in the large main building in the upper picture of what's now called the School of Agriculture, that was part of the Childrens Home in the 1800's. If anybody is interested I could give a tour of the grounds some time and tell you what used to be where. There are many things I have yet to hear people mention and wonder how many know what I do.


this is an original postcard of what the Home For Dependent Children. this was located on the other side of the county grounds park, but on the same land as The Milwaukee County Hospital For Mental Diseases.

mchome.jpg



This is all that remains today of the orphanage. (the middle building)

Home-for-Dependent-Children-Mke_Mar10.jpg

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Does anyone have any photos on the building to the north?
Hey...

Does anyone have any photos and/or information on the building to the north of the Kirkbride looking building? It was built just before 1890 and was attached to the Kirkbride via tunnel. The building is referenced as 1079 in the map above. In high school my friends and I used to spend quite a bit of time there.

I have attached a photo that I have to give you a idea what it looked like. I was hoping though that someone can upload a few more, hopefully some when it was in operation and some more recent.

Sanitarium-North.jpg

Thanks.
Jason

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Hi Jason, welcome and thanks for the photo. Considering there aren't many to be had. The county historical society says they have a lot of photos they haven't scanned, they might be a good place to check. The building you refer to is the "Milwaukee County Hospital for Mental Disease Receiving Ward". It was part of the "Milwaukee Hospital for the Insane" & this is where new admissions would go for classification. 1079 is the page number & here it is on the Sanborn map, according to their timeline, it was there in 1910. The main building is to the lower left.
WImilwakeereciving1951.jpg

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Cool thanks! In 1991 we visited the historical society and looked through many of the photos. We scanned several of the Receiving Ward and we found a article mentioning the date of 1886 as the start of construction. I just assumed it was completed in less than 4 years. Also if I remember that photo correctly it did not have the screened porches on the east and west sides of the building.

I have the blue prints of the Receiving Ward and the date is 12-10-19. There are many differences between the blue prints and the building we used to explore in high school. First is that the tunnel was not part of the blue prints but were hand sketched on them and located farther east in the basement than the actual tunnel. Second is the west side of the basement had a extension installed which expended about 20-30 feet west of the base of the screened porches that contained large tanks easily over 1000 gallons each. I think they were used for heating oil but I am not 100% sure since the building also was connected to the steam pipes.

I can imagine there were several iterations of construction and I would love to get as much information of the whole complex as I can. Where did you get the Sanborn maps, are they available online? Also are there any maps of that area for the 1950's - 1980's?

I plan on scanning the blueprints and uploading them here when I get a wand scanner as they are E size drawings and very detailed.

Cheers
Jason

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It looks like a Kirkbride to me - and the time period is right. But remember Kirkbride wasn't an architect - he worked with many architects, so there is a fair bit of variation in all Kirkbride facilities. The person who'll know for sure is Carla Yanni - the Author of 'The Architecture of Madness; Insane Asylums in the United States,' University of Minnesota Press, 2007. A great book.

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Quote:24.196.139.202 Sat 3rd 2:37 am
I was in the old Milwaukee County Childrens Home in 1967-68 (I was 14-15 at the time) and knew the County grounds fairly well at that point in time. There's far too much to tell in words here and almost all of the buildings are long demolished. We used to go to religious services in the large main building in the upper picture of what's now called the School of Agriculture, that was part of the Childrens Home in the 1800's. If anybody is interested I could give a tour of the grounds some time and tell you what used to be where. There are many things I have yet to hear people mention and wonder how many know what I do.


I understand this is an old post. However, I find this subject fascinating since I live just blocks away and would very much respect and appreciate a guided tour on your terms.

Rich
Spikerbud@gmail.com
414-467-7513

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mom was there
My Mother and Aunt (as an infant), both born and raised in Milwaukee's third ward, were there for a short while, while my Grandmother was sick and in a hospital. I believe around 1934-36? (They are still with us, but hard for them to remember. She talks of a tunnel(s) to various areas they had walked thru, perhaps to eat? I would like to find more information during that era.

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Milwaukee County Hospital for Mental Diseases ward numbers?
Does anyone know which floor of the women's ward contained locked Wards 3 and 4 where my late grandmother spent 4 years?
Edited On 2:02:12 AM - Thu, Aug 6th 2015 by Tosan

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insane%20asylum%20with%20locations.jpg
Edited On 8:06:52 PM - Tue, Mar 29th 2016 by Vetiveronica

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Now It Makes Sense
I've always wondered why there were sidewalks, steps, curbs, a stone "patio" deep in the woods north of the buildings. The stone steps going down the ravine are still a puzzle. Due to the elevation of the area, I'm wondering if they led down to a pond, or creek whose course has been changed, running into the Menomonee River. The road up to the main building is still there, being used by the Ronald McDonald House. Until it's remodeling two years ago, the courtyard circle was and may still be there. The road to the west is still there, but it's being used present day by the power house on the west side of the road, and the present day water tower and closed food preparation building on the east side. The road on the far right, east of the fire station is still there and runs down to the paupers cemetery, across from the retention pond. North and west of this picture, the asylum cemetery is still there with a marker. It's in the small woods seen to the northwest when you get through the just north of this picture. You may all know this, but I thought I'd mention it if someone hasn't been there in a while. I take my dog through those woods almost every day.

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Hello! .. I am researching for info on the Milwaukee County Home for Dependent Children....my dad was placed there in the late 1930's, then placed into a foster home.. in order to be placed into the children's home, did his parents have to basically " give up parental rights"? ..he remained in the foster home till he was 18 ywars old...reasons unknown why they dumped him there...I have researched online, but not much info to be found on the children that were placed there ..anyone have any input ?

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it doesnt appear to be a Kirkbride, in that Kirkbride building were designed to give every room a window and it appears to have interior rooms.


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