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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"


Chapter  19 -
Eau Claire County Asylum and Home for the Poor

Eau Claire County Asylum

(-as transcribed from pages 347 - 348)


The Eau Claire County Asylum was built in the year 1900, and the original cost, including a farm of 466 acres, the buildings and all equipment, was $135,284.00.  The first board of trustees was:  August Bartz, Ira B. Bradford and Thomas F. Frawley.  August Bartz died during the first year and his place was filled by Louis Germann.  Dr. D. W. Day was the first visiting surgeon.  In 1901 both Dr. Day and Mr. Frawley died, and Dr. William B. Lyman became visiting surgeon, while Julius G. Ingram succeeded Mr. Frawley on the board of trustees.  The personnel of the board then remained the same until 1907, when it became Julius G. Ingram, Clarence B. Sprague and Charles A. Cox.  In 1912 David Douglas succeeded Mr. Ingram, who resigned, and in 1913 W. K. Coffin succeeded Mr. Douglas, so that the present board is composed of C. G. Sprague, Charles A. Cox and W. K. Coffin.  Dr. J. F. Farr is the present visiting surgeon and has been for some years.

The first secretary to the board of trustees was Miss Nettie Thurston, who served but a short time, and was succeeded by Miss Ruth Kelley.  She acted until 1912, when she was succeeded by Miss N. McLeod.

The asylum is splendidly located on a fine eminence just west of the city of Eau Claire, and in the other three directions commands a broad view of fertile farming country.  When this site and the large farm were purchased for asylum purposes the grounds were laid out by F. W. Woodward, and there was a serio-comic phase to some litigation he had with the board of trustees.  They thought he has doing the work in a spirit of philanthropy to aid the project of caring for the insane, but he rendered a bill for his work and claimed they were a "little off" in their understanding of the matter.

The roads, buildings and grounds are maintained in good order, and, with the assistance of the inmates, who are able to work, a large amount of produce is raised on the farm.  Also many articles of wearing apparel and for household use are made by the women.

The cost of maintenance for 1913 was $18,910.11, and the number of patients was 168, of whom 71 were from Eau Claire county.  The first superintendent was O. H. Kitzman, who served from 1900 to 1908, when he was succeeded by the present incumbent, Mr. Horrell.  Mrs. Horrell is matron.


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