USA: Minnesota-Fergus Falls Regional (Historic Kirkbride State Hospital) Treatment Center

Regional Treatment Center
“..The Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center (RTC) Complex is a unique landmark of Fergus Falls. It served for many years as a state hospital for patients with mental illness, developmental disabilities or chemical dependency. At one time the institution housed 2,000 patients…”

Self-Contained City

Fergus Falls State Hospital: History & Photographs – SUBSTREET

..A Gradual Downsizing, then Aloneness

“..By the 1970s, though, the original philosophy of warehousing, sunshine and fresh air had long faded, like the canary-yellow paint on the old ward walls. Now, instead of being shut into tiny rooms, troubled minds were given psychotherapeutic drugs and mainstreamed into smaller clinics. The State Hospital’s usefulness was fading, as reflected by the 1985 name change to Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center…

The Castle on the Hill

ob Schieffer
Published on Jan 24, 2017
The Fergus Falls State Hospital and its People
featuring the photography of Ethan Smith

Fergus Falls Kirkbride Regional Treatment Center NEW Trailer

Published on Oct 29, 2014
A new trailer for the RTC in Fergus Falls MN. “Hug The RTC”

Kirkbride FAQ #3–What was the Kirkbride Building? – YouTube

Published on Jul 24, 2012
Jean Bowman of the Fergus Falls Convention and Visitor’s Bureau answers, “What was the Kirkbride Building?”

Part 2 Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center State Hospital Fire

Travis Tommerdahl
Published on Jun 16, 2009
Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center State Hospital Fire from a Lightning Strike.

Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center Kirkbride Building Circa 2005

Drone Footage

Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center (RTC) Kirkbride fly-by

Jesse Thorstad
Published on Dec 3, 2015
Second flight with my Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4k quadcopter. Pretty dang happy with the results!

Shot in 1080, NOT 4k.

Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center Drone Footage – YouTube

Published on Jun 3, 2016
Drone footage of the RTC in Fergus Falls, MN.

Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center (RTC) 3D Model – YouTube

Precise Sensing
Published on Apr 24, 2019
The is a quick 3D model created with the drone of the Kirkbride building in Fergus Falls, MN on April 22nd 2019.

Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center Drone Footage – YouTube

Published on May 27, 2019
MPF, along with Jerry Eklund Photography, went out to the Fergus Falls State Hospital and shot some amazing drone footage. This was shot in April 2019. We need to preserve our history. The buildings are in great shape and could be used and enjoyed for many more generations.

History of Kirkbride

Kirkbride Buildings – Historic Insane Asylums – Pictures and History

From the archives: Kirkbride buildings, built to foster sanity, now empty hulks (2005) By Louis C. Hochman | NJ Advance Media for Posted May 31, 2015


“..In Colonial times, mental illness was considered a punishment for sin, and the people who were afflicted with it, evil. So-called lunatics were tortured or burned as witches. Some were kept in cages or holes in the ground. Others were crowded into dark cells in almshouses, where they were restrained with chains. They were flogged, beaten and subjected to primitive medical procedures including blood-draining and the surgical removal of teeth and organs..

The misconceptions began to change in the late 18th century, when a philosophy known as “moral management” swept Europe. The premise of moral management was that “lunatics” (literally, people who were moonstruck) could be treated and perhaps even cured with long rests in deluxe retreats. The Quakers, proponents of caring for the less fortunate, brought the concept to the United States.

Thomas Kirkbride was superintendent of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane in Philadelphia. Kirkbride was also a devout Quaker, and he embraced the concept of treating mental illness with kindness and compassion. He promoted the idea that hospital design would facilitate benevolent treatment….


…”Abusive husbands had their spouses admitted, women were admitted for not doing housework properly, orphans, mothers pregnant out of wedlock — there was no clear definition of who was ‘insane,’ and many, many people who should have not been in the state hospital were,” said Emily Burrows, a student at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., who is studying the history of the boarded-up Kirkbride that looms over the college campus. “One major flaw was that the only person a patient could be released to was the person who admitted them.

Kirkbrides designed to accommodate 250 were stacking patients in rooms built for two. Care deteriorated. Chain restraints and shock machines were used to control disobedient and violent patients. In the 1930s, lobotomies were added to methods of patient care. By the early 1950s, the age of moral treatment was long gone and Kirkbrides were crazy, throbbing madhouses. Then everything turned upside down …


In Fergus Falls, Minn., the Kirkbride has been empty since 1986. While state officials try to figure out whether it’s worth saving, the building continues to wither. In 1999, the main cupola of the Kirkbride in Worcester, Mass., caved in, nearly 25 years after the building was abandoned….

..”As a kid growing up here in the ’50s, I remember people calling it ‘the nuthouse.’ It was the place where lobotomies were done, shock treatments, where bad things happened,” Trask said. “People didn’t want to be reminded of that. They certainly didn’t want to have to pay to remember. But a generation from now, we will look back and say, ‘Why the hell did we let this thing go?'”..”

Fergus Falls State Hospital
“.. the late nineteenth-century, overcrowding at Minnesota’s two Kirkbride asylums in Rochester and St. Peter led to the creation of a third in Fergus Falls. Construction began in 1888 and was finished with completion of the central administration structure in 1906. Warren Dunnel of Minneapolis, Minnesota was the architect…”

The Kirkbride Plan: A Revolution in the Treatment of the … – YouTube

Kirkbride Plan – The Lunatic Asylums – YouTube

Clair Mark Cordes
Published on Feb 3, 2015
The Kirkbride Plan refers to a system of mental asylum design advocated by Philadelphia psychiatrist Thomas Story Kirkbride (1809-1883) in the mid-19th century. Kirkbride developed his requirements based on a philosophy of Moral Treatment. The typical floor plan, with long rambling wings arranged en echelon (staggered, so each connected wing received sunlight and fresh air), was meant to promote privacy and comfort for patients. The building form itself was meant to have a curative effect, “a special apparatus for the care of lunacy, [whose grounds should be] highly improved and tastefully ornamented.” The idea of institutionalization was thus central to Kirkbride’s plan for effectively treating patients with mental illnesses.


Greystone’s Last Stand – Extended Preview

-South Carolina


Kirkbride Asylum History and Abandonment – YouTube



“..Hydrotherapy is seen at the 15 minute mark, and electroshock therapy seen at 15:20. Columbus State Hospital first opened in 1838 and was originally known as the “Lunatic Asylum of Ohio”. After a fire devastated the original asylum in 1868, the Ohio Legislature authorized reconstruction of the institution on a different tract of land. An immense Kirkbride building was completed in 1877. Construction took seven years and the total cost was over $1,500,000…”

Good News Minnesota

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