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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin

Chapter XII: Three Dunn County institutions,   pp. 74-77

Page 76

large enough to accommodate 100 inmates, with a central building and two wings.
The open door plan was urged, which means that the patients are given a minimum
of restraint. This was the system adopted and which has proved to be one making
for the comfort and contentment of the afflicted, leading in many cases to their
complete recovery. One of the chief benefits of the plan, and which was dwelt
upon by the committee, is that it furnishes inmates with, employment and keeps
their minds occupied in a wholesome manner. The committee showed that the
system had an average cost per capita in the existing asylums in 1888, running from
81.25 in Winnebago County to 82.63 in Sheboygan. 'they were all self-supporting
and all had paid for their buildings. Architect John Charles of "Mineral Point had
made estimates showing the total cost of the buildings to be 860,000, which, with
the initial investment in land, would bring the original investment up to 865,000.
An appropriation for this amount was recommended, the general government
of the institution to be placed in the hands of a board of three trustees, each to be
elected by the county board for three years. The trustees were to elect a superin-
tendent and a physician. Resolutions were unaminously adopted for the purchase
of a site, for an approprigtion and the appointment of a building commission. it
was stipulated that the asylum was to be completed by Dec. 1, 1891, and a com-
mittee of four members of the county" board was to act with the building commission.
The chair appointed as a commission J. H. Stout, At R. Hall and William Miller,
and as the committee to act with the commission E. C. Jacobs, J. K. Heller, A. C.
Sherburn and E. H. Drake. At the annual session of the board in 1892, the building
commission reported that it had finished its labors Feb. 8, 1892, and turned over the
buildings ready for occupancy to the trustees. The whole amount expended was
864,703.77, leaving a balance in the fund of 8296.23. The first patient was received
on Feb. 10, 1892.
The first board of trustees consisted of J. H. Stout, A. R. Hall and William H.
Smith. Their first report, submitted in the fall of 1892, showed the institution
to have been a success frcm the start. The gain shown in that report, covering a
period from Feb. 9, 1892 to October 1 of the same year was 85,147.88. The ntmber
of patients received during that time was 111, there rcmaining in the institution
Sept. 30, 1892, 90, of whom 48 were Dunn County charges. By 1905 the indebted-
ness to the state was discharged.
The institution has alwavs been self-supporting, so that no county tax nor appro-
priation has ever been needed to meet a deficit in its finances. The building covers
considerable ground and consists of a basement, first and second floors, and an attic.
The portion occupied by the patients is divided into four wards, each containing
seven sleeping-rooms, and there are four day rocms. In addition there is a cottage
containing three rooms. The normal capacity of the asylum is 117 patients, but
two or three more can be cared for when necessary. The average number ap-
proaches close to the normal capacity. The main kitchen is on the first floor and
there is an auxilliary one in the basement. The buildings have been improved from
time to time, chiefly through interior changes or adaptations, anid no expense has
been spared to keep them up-to-date and make them thoroughly commodious and
serviceable for their purpose.
Each year one of the trustees retires, his place being taken by one newly elected.
The official indoor staff of the institution consists of a superintendent, matron, four
day attendants and two night attendants. There is no resident physician, but the
asylum is visited twice a week, or oftener if necessary, by a physician from Me-
nomonie, who is a member of the staff. The medical attendant for the last 25 years
has been Dr. N. L. Howison.
It should be noted that the asylum is located two miles east of 'Menomonie,
in the town of Red Cedar, and a shcrt distance farther east on the same road,
(State Highway- No. 12), is the Poor Farm, the two institutions being under the
same management, which arran.gtment has prevailed since the asylum was built.
The amount of land originailv ii cltuded in the property has since been increased to
1010 acres, on which farrmin.g, ;and dairying is carried on for the benefit of the institu-
tion, three men being en U" yed on th:e farni. These men are assisted in summer b

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