Oregon State Hospital Historic District - Salem, Oregon
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member ddtfamily
N 44° 56.339 W 123° 00.308
10T E 499595 N 4976171
Historic state hospital and grounds established in 1883
Waymark Code: WMJ2FF
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 09/12/2013
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member razalas
Views: 2

The Oregon State Hospital Historic district includes the 130-acre campus and contained 61 contributing buildings and structures, prior to the 2008 demolition of major portions of the "J" building and other structures.

The oldest part of the hospital, built in 1883, was known as the Oregon State Insane Asylum. When established, the facility provided what at the time was the "state-of-the-art" in mental health care. The hospital was designed based on the Kirkbride system, named for Dr. Thomas Kirkbride, Superintendent of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane. In the 1850s, Kirkbride developed his design plan that included a central administrative area and wings for patients. Pleasant landscaping was viewed an important component of Kirkbride's system.

Over the years, care provided at the facility, along with the buildings, deteriorated. In 2005, an architectural assessment of the facility determined that the site was unsafe. In 2006, the hospital was fined $10,200 for asbestos violations. Another controversy at the hospital involved the fate of over 5,000 cans of human cremated remains (cremains) warehoused at the site. A 2008 report by the U.S. Justice Department criticized the quality of care provided at the facility.

Debate ensued over whether the hospital should be preserved, restoring the historic buildings for future use. Historical preservation advocates worked to list the property on the National Register, achieving approval of the nomination in 2008. However, there were also calls by many, including former patients, to tear down the hospital, citing the pain associated with use of "treatments" now considered ineffective and/or inhumane, including forced sterilization, lobotomy, electroshock treatment and insulin coma therapy.

In 2008, work began to tear down most of the dilapidated "J" building. This included portions of the structure referred to as Buildings 46, 31, 43, 47 & 48. The $458 million project resulted in a new, 620-bed facility, with portions of the Kirkbride building preserved, now housing the Museum of Mental Health.

In 2011, Building #29 (also known as Siskiyou Hall), located west of the Kirkbride Building's front entrance, was razed. After it's removal, the "Baby Hercules" fountain, dating to circa 1900 but in storage for many decades, was re-installed in front of the Kirkbride Building, in approximately the same location where it was originally installed more than 100 years earlier.

The hospital is famous as the primary filming location for Ken Kesey's novel "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Actor for star Jack Nicholson.

The Oregon State Hospital District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. The Historic District Nomination Form includes an excellent history of the hospital campus and its significance to Oregon.

Note: Click a photo to enlarge

Building 33 "Yaquina Hall" (1947)

Building 30 "Kirkbride Building" (1883)

"Baby Hercules" Fountain (c. 1900)

Building 36 "Dome Building" (1912)

Cottage #1 (1909)

List of Historic Contributing Structures

Cottage #1 Cottage #2
Cottage #3 Cottage #4
Cottage #7/#9 Cottage #8
Cottage #11 Cottage #12
Cottage #14 Cottage #15
Cottage #16 Cottage #17
Cottage #18 Cottage #19
Cottage #20 Cottage #21
Cottage #22 Cottage #23
Cottage #24 Cottage #25
Cottage #26 Cottage #27
Cottage #28 Kirkbride Building
Yaquina Hall #33 Santiam Hall #34
Breitenbush Hall #35 Dome Building #36
McKenzie Hall #40 Eola Hall #50/#77
Utility Shed #54 Memorial #60
Facilities #63 Waterworks South #85
Waterworks North #86 Entry Gate #1
Entry Gate #2 Entry Gate #3
North Park Grounds South Park Grounds
Tunnel System

Former historic contributing buildings and structures demolished due to the hospital replacement project: #13, 29, 31, 37, 43, 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 55, 56, 58, 59, 61, 62, 64, 67, 71, 73, 74, 75, 76, 81, 82, 89, 92

Wikipedia Url: [Web Link]

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