St. Croix County Asylum

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St. Croix County Asylum
Opened 1896
Closed 1958
Demolished 1984
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Single Building
Location New Richmond, WI
Alternate Names
  • St. Croix County Asylum for the Chronic Insane


Mental health problems were solved when the “Asylum for the Chronic Insane,” as the St. Croix County Hospital was first called, was built in 1897 on county land north and a little west of New Richmond, WI. The first patients were admitted on April 27, 1897. The first board of trustees met in the office of Ward and Williams in New Richmond on January 18, 1897. Previously there had been some discussion in the county about where the county seat should be, and where the insane asylum should be located. The St. Croix County Insane Asylum was built in 1897 following an agreement between Hudson and New Richmond. It was agreed Hudson would “get “ the courthouse and New Richmond would “get” the asylum. A part of the St. Croix County complex to care for the mentally ill and the indigent, the “Poor House” was added in 1898. The building burned in 1924, and was replaced by a new one called the “County Home,” which eventually became an alcohol and treatment center.

The original hospital could accommodate 140 patients and the total cost of the building was said to be $54,000. A laundry, horse barn and main barn were built late in 1897. The first superintendent was Thomas Wheeller. The emphasis was on custodial care with the additional factor of safely removing some of society's problems from society's consciousness and conscience. In 1898 the problem of what to do about the indigent poor in the county was solved by building a “Poor House.”

By 1958, the Asylum’s timeline was beginning to shorten. The Poor Farm closed its doors, several buildings were torn down, and parcels of land were sold. According to the County Press Release titled, “Demolition of Former Health and Human Services Building” written in February of 2015, by 1971 “new state regulations prevented county hospital residents from working on the county farm.” It was later decided to auction off the prized dairy herd.

This building was eventually designated the “St Croix County Health Center”. The beautiful original building, which had dominated New Richmond's north skyline for almost a century, was torn down by the county in 1984, much to the dismay of the newly organized New Richmond Preservation Society and many in the community.