Outagamie County Asylum
|Outagamie County Asylum|
|Building Style||Single Building|
Founded in 1889, the Outagamie County Health Center (OCHC), also know to some as "Flanagan's Funny Farm" served Appleton and surrounding communities for well over a century. As was common with other "County Homes", OCHC originally consisted of the poor farm and a home for the so called chronically insane. In it's early years, individuals as young as 15 were brought to the facility and spent the balance of their days there. The asylum cemetery, closed in 1943 has 113 grave sites.
Over it's 112 year history, the facility underwent numerous changes. The final blow to the OCHC came in 2000 when construction of Brewster Village was started. This new state-of-the-art 204-bed facility stands near the site of the old building which was torn down in 2001.
There is still a cemetery, near Fox Valley Technical College west of Appleton in Grand Chute, the final resting place for 140 residents of the former Outagamie County Asylum for the Chronic Insane, which stood nearby. In a March 22, 1978 memo to the Outagamie County Historical Society, health center employee John Franklin reported that he had removed the only remaining tombstone a few months earlier. It was broken and leaning against a tree.
By the 1990s, the cemetery had become so unrecognizable as such there was talk of putting a service road through the property. Outagamie County Executive Toby Paltzer, whose father once farmed the land around the cemetery, heard about it and stopped construction before it began.
In 2014 a group of volunteers comprised of employees of Agape of Appleton began to gather information on a restoration of the cemetery. Soon after, other volunteers throughout the community came together and established a committee known as the Friends of the Outagamie County Cemetery. The project gathered financial and community resources which culminated in a dedication ceremony that took place in September of 2015. A granite memorial stone was erected with an engraving of all the names on record of those buried in the cemetery. Fox Valley Technical College agreed to a long term contract in regards to maintenance of the cemetery.