Topeka State Hospital.When the Osawatomie State Hospital was established in 1866 the state authorities probably thought they had made ample accommodations for the insane for all future time. But within ten years the institution became so crowded that further accommodations were necessary. Accordingly, on March 5, 1875, Gov. Osborn approved an act of the legislature appropriating $25,000 "for the purpose of building an asylum for the insane at some convenient and healthy spot within 2 miles of the capitol building in the city of Topeka." The act further provided that the site selected should contain not less than 80 acres, title to which should be acquired without cost to the state, and that three of the trustees of the asylum at Osawatomie should constitute a board of commissioners to select a site and superintend the erection of buildings. On June 2, 1875, George Wyman, Levi Woodard and William H. Grimes were chosen to serve as commissioners. They decided upon a tract of 80 acres of land belonging to ex-Gov. James M. Harvey, located upon the road that is a continuation of West Sixth street in the city of Topeka. To purchase this tract the city of Topeka and the county of Shawnee each donated $6,000, and the land was conveyed to the state by Mr. Harvey.
TOPEKA STATE HOSPITAL.
The law authorizing the hospital provided that the buildings should be constructed upon the "segregate or cottage systemthat is, one main central hospital building and other buildings grouped around the same, each building, except the main central hospital, to be two stories high, of sufficient capacity to accommodate 40 patients each, and in sufficient numbers to accommodate 300 persons in the aggregate; and the said buildings, except the main central hospital building, shall not cost to exceed $25,000 each."
The commissioners employed J. G. Haskell of Lawrence to prepare plans in conformity with the law, and on July 28 bids were opened and the first building contracts let. On June 1, 1879, the first of the buildings was ready for occupany,[sic] the first patient was admitted on that date, and the institution was formally opened under the superintendency of Dr. B. D. Eastman. In 1881 the legislature appropriated $13,000 for the purchase of about 100 acres additional on the west and south of the original site. Since that time appropriations have been made from time to time until in 1910 the property and equipment of the hospital were valued at $1,000,000. In 1907 an appropriation of $12,000 was made for a pavilion to accommodate 20 women afflicted with tuberculosis. During the same biennial report two cottages for women were erected at a cost of $70,000, and $50,000 were expended in making additions to the buildings occupied by men. Notwithstanding these liberal appropriations, the legislature found it necessary in 1909 to appropriate a considerable sum of money to pay the several counties of the state for the care and maintenance of destitute insane persons who could not be admitted to the asylums for want of room.
In accordance with the provisions of the law, the general plan of the hospital embraces a central building for the use of the administrative department, in the rear of which are the domestic and mechanical departments, laundry, bakery, boiler-house, etc., the quarters for the patients extending east and west from the administration building and connected with it by one-story corridors. The buildings on the east are used for men and those on west for women. (See illustration.)
Dr. Eastman remained in charge of the hospital until 1883, when he was succeeded by A. P. Tenney, who served but a short time when he was in turn succeeded by Dr. Eastman. In 1895 J. H. Casey was superintendent for a short time, when Dr. Eastman again took charge of the hospital and remained as superintendent until his death in 1897. C. H. Wetmore was superintendent during the biennial period of 1898-99, at the end of which he was succeeded by Dr. T. C. Biddle, who still held the position in 1911.Pages 815-816 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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