Friday, July 2, 2010

July 2: State Insane Asylum

On July 2, 1886, Idaho Territory opened its first home/hospital for mentally ill individuals – forthrightly called an Insane Asylum. The legislature had authorized funds for the facility and construction began the year before. The location was a plot of donated land about a half mile from Blackfoot.

South Idaho Sanitarium, now Idaho State Hospital South.
Idaho State Historical Society photo.
Before the Idaho Asylum (later called a “sanitarium”) was built, the Territory had contracted with the state of Oregon to care for patients in their Salem facility.

Officials transferred thirty-six patients (26 man and 10 women) from Oregon when the Blackfoot facility opened.

Although the structure was mostly stone or brick (only the third story was wood frame), the Asylum burned down a little over three years after it opened. [See my blog for November 24 for more about the fire.]

References: [French], [Hawley], [Illust-State]