Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fergus Falls mental hospital gets new marker
The state mental hospital in Fergus Falls, now known as the Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center, gets a new National Register of Historic Preservation plaque on Monday, according to an article in the Daily Journal. The sprawling site, which was built in 1890, is said to be the "most compete example of Thomas Kirkbride-inspired architecture in the nation," said Otter Tail County Historical Society Executive Director Chris Schuelke. (Kirkbride believed the mentally ill could be helped by placing them in soothing surroundings in the countryside.) I visited the building in 2004, producing a two-part series on the mental hospital building and grounds for Building Minnesota. My tour included an abandoned playground, windswept tunnels, a coffin for carrying the dead to a nearby anonymous graveyard, peeling wallpaper and a sadness and reverence for the past. The site contains many redevelopment challenges. To learn more, check out the June 1, 2007 post, which has the audio stories. Simply click and listen.

No comments: