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The Chippewa Times
(December 1903)

City of Chippewa Falls,   pp. [3]-60 ff.

Page 32

32                           CITY OF CHIPPEWA FALLS.
ADMINISTRATION BUILDING.                               COTTAGE NO. 1.
Beautifully located on the bank of the Chippewa
river opposite the city of Chippewa Falls is the
Wisconsin Home for the Feeble Minded. The
conditions which called for the establishment of
this great institution are several. There are many
homes where a child mentally afflicted absorbs the
attention of the mother to the detriment of the
other children, who are to become the men and
women of the future, and also exhaust the sav-
ings of the parents. With the widowed father
they often prevent the following of his regular
work and he may not be able because of financial
difficulties to secure a proper person to take charge
of his child. Then to these is the more serious
danger of having these children, particularly the
older boys and girls, alone on the streets where
ihey must be exposed to all kinds of dangers. As
for the children themselves it is very evident that
it is of the greatest benefit to have a home for
them. They are taken to this beautiful home,
placed under the care of persons who are able
to help them, who are able to teach them, and
who understand their needs. Many of them come
from homes of privation and neglect. In the care-
fully classified groups of the institution they find
what they cannot obtain elsewhere, congenial com-
panionship, which removes that continual feeling
of inferiority and helps to develop the best that
is in them. "It gives them the inalienable right
of every American child, the opportunity of an
education to the highest available point, thus add-
ing much to their happiness through the one avail-
able source, usefulness."
Dr. Wilmarth, the very competent and success-
fuI head of the institution, endeavors to not only
give every child the proper care, but also teach
every child in the best way in order that he may
develop to the highest degree of usefulness pos-
sible. The management has endeavored to make
every child feel that be or she is a useful unit,
and by encouraging what the children do they
spur them on to better work. As the State owns
1,010 acres of land there is plenty of opportunity
for out-door work for the children. The work of
clearing the land is going on rapidly and the
farming has progressed so well that all the vege-
tables used are raised there. In the near future
it is hoped that a dairy farm will be part of the
institution's farm. The shoes that are worn, the
girls' clothing and many beautiful articles of
needlework are made by the children, and even
some of the boys' clothing, besides the bed linen,
is manufactured by the children under careful
supervision of the teachers. The laundry work is
done by the older girls, also many of them act as
nurses for the smaller children. It is hoped that
in time each child will be self-supporting. The
Wisconsin Home for the Feeble Minded was open-
ed June 11, 1897, and received its first inmates
June 17, 1897. There are now 605 children en-
rolled. The State employs 112 persons to take
care of them, teach them and keep up the insti-
tution. The buildings number 10, some of the
most important, but recently completed, and there
are still several (four cottages and one school-
house) to be built. In order to fully appreciate
this great institution one must see it and then in
realizing the great work of humanity in providing
it for the benefit of these poor unfortunates, about
60 per cent. of whom inherited their misfortune,
one also realizes the great generosity of the State
of Wisconsin.

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