Yankton State Hospital
The completion of the railway into Yankton in 1873 gave added impetus to immigration and by 1878 the effect of the gold rush was reflected in the number of Dakota patients at St. Peter Hospital, totaling 22. Governor William A. Howard was advised in June by Minnesota that no more patients could be accepted after July 1 because of crowded conditions at that hospital and all Dakota patients would have to be removed by October 1, 1878.
The Governor contacted Iowa hospitals without success, then traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska, and found that institution overcrowded but by completing some unfinished rooms, accommodations were arranged for five patients until the following February. Another contract with Minnesota resulted in an extension until February 1, 1879, for removal of the patients from St. Peter.
Governor Howard searched for a building to be used for a hospital in nearby towns of Vermillion, Elk Point and Canton with no success. In Yankton, he found two large wooden buildings--one belonging to the city and one to the Territory that were built to house German-Russian immigrants. The Governor secured the buildings and arranged to have them rebuilt on school lands north of Yankton at personal expense, a total of $2,286.85. The thirteenth session of the Dakota Territory Legislature met on January 14, 1879, and in the Governor’s message he advised the lawmakers of his action and the necessary laws were passed. Click here for more...