Mendota State Hospital

On July 14th, 1860, the Wisconsin Hospital for the Insane opened just north of Lake Mendota near Madison. The asylum had not been scheduled to open on that date, but due to the arrival of a patient who had travelled over 100 miles, the hospital was opened early. It was Wisconsin's first psychiatric hospital.

Architect Stephen Vaughn Shipman designed the Kirkbride building and it bore a striking resemblance to other Kirkbrides he designed at Winnebago State Hospital and Elgin State Hospital. The Mendota Kirkbride was demolished some time in the 20th century.

In 1935 the facility was renamed Mendota State Hospital. The patient population reached its peak of 1300 in 1959. In 1974 the hospital's name was changed again to Mendota Mental Health Institute, the name it still bears today. The patient population has shrunk considerably to under 300.

Other names for this hospital:

  • Wisconsin Hospital for the Insane
  • Mendota Asylum for the Insane
  • Mendota State Hospital
  • Mendota Mental Health Institute