Northern State Hospital and a Picnic

So today they had a Remembering Northern State event at the site of the hospital.  Here are some views of the buildings as we arrived and walked to the speakers.

Here are the posters they had explaining its history.

We had the beagle with us so we decided to do the walking tour of the grounds rather than listen to the speakers.

Assembly Hall/Chapel built in 1916 where they had an auditorium as well as a store, post office and soda shop.

Another view of the chapel

Denny Hospital built in 1912 which had eight wards of patients.

This is a video of the inside of the hospital which Tom took in 2018 when he was working salvage.

Fraser building built 1914 housed men’s wards.

Gray building built 1914 housed more men’s wards

The interior of the entrance

Smith building built 1922 housed 2 wards for male patients

The Power House built 1926 used coal to generate power for heat, hot water and electricity to the entire complex

Commissary built 1918 was used as a warehouse to store goods for the hospital and the farm

Nearby deer

Northern Pacific railway spur used to bring supplies

Men’s Occupation Therapy building built 1916. The patients’ handiwork was sold in the store and the earnings deposited into the patient activity fund.

Laundry built 1947. This replaced one destroyed by fire. The patents worked in the laundry, cleaning all of the linens and clothes.

Women’s Occupational Therapy built in 1962. This moved this activity from the basement of the chapel where female patients did weaving, sewing and mending.

Valdes built 1928 was a women’s ward.

Wilkes Hall built 1933 was a women’s ward and housed nursing students.

Douglas Building built 1962 was the receiving, treatment and medical building.

Trevennen Hall built 1938 housed nurses

So we then drove toward the farm of the hospital and stopped to have a picnic.  The idea of the picnic came when I was accidentally sent recipes from a Jane Austen picnic presentation by Paul Couchman.  Yesterday I prepared Gooseberry Fool, Cold Chicken Pies, Artichoke Pies, Rout Cakes, Salamagundy, Macerated Strawberries and Lemonade.  And I was able to use our vintage picnic basket for the first time.

Here is the food all assembled.

And I cut the pies open to be able to see the contents (plus I could only finish two 1/2 pies).

It was all very good.  The gooseberries are a little weird, and there was a lot of red onions in the Salamagundy.  The cakes were really yummy, flavored with rose and orange waters.

Then we took the beagle and walked around the farm.  Here are the old dairy buildings.

With some of the decay you can see the construction of these buildings.

We decided not to walk to the horse barn.

This is one of the food processing buildings.

We had to visit Al’s plaque to make sure there was no bird poop on it.

It was a nice day.  I wished had more time to listen to the speakers, but I did buy a couple of books I didn’t already have about the hospital.  It is a fascinating story.

The Seattle Times just did a documentary about Northern State, and we watched it this evening.  It was interesting.  It is great that they have finally opened up the records for families to try to find their loved ones.  We have been to the cemetery before, but it has been a while.  I am so thankful for the people who are working to preserve the gravestones and identify them.

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3 Responses to Northern State Hospital and a Picnic

  1. Jeanne says:

    That was quite the tour! I was both saddened and enjoying it. Was it a medical hospital or mental type? It was certainly a large place! I’m not sure I want to watch the documentary you mentioned, though. The chapel building is still beautiful! Did you go inside it?

    What are Rout Cakes? I’ve never heard that term before. Nor have I heard of Salamagundy/ The food in your picnic basket looks really nice!

    • Donna says:

      It was a mental hospital back in the day when there was not much successful medical treatment. So it is a sad place but also positive in some ways. When it closed some of the remaining patients were just put on the street. They didn’t let us in any of the buildings because of safety concerns. But a lot of the fixtures as still there. In the documentary they do go in the chapel and it is quite beautiful inside.
      A rout was a fashionable large gathering in the 18th and 19th centuries. So these were tiny rich sweet cakes for them. They are just flour, sugar, butter, eggs and currants with orange flower water, rose water and a little brandy. I really like them.
      Salamagundy is a mixed layer salad with sweet and bitter elements. It often had edible flowers.

  2. Jeanne says:

    Thanks very much for all that interesting information! When I first read your post, i bad a feeling if was a mental hospital. The way those people were treated, was so sad.
    The rout cakes do sound good! I’ll pass on all those onions!! I don’t do well with them.m

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