Winnebago State Hospital

Construction of the Winnebago State Hospital Kirkbride began just outside of Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1871. The institution was placed on the shore of Lake Winnebago. It began taking patients in 1873 when it opened as the Northern Hospital for the Insane. Construction of the Kirkbride was completed in 1875. Stephen Vaughn Shipman was its architect.

According to a collection of historical anecdotes, from the beginning superintendent Dr. Walter Kempster studied physical changes in the brain as a possible cause for mental illness. (See 125 Years on Asylum Bay.) Also of interest, the would-be assassin of President Theodore Roosevelt, John Schrank, spent time at Winnebago after shooting Roosevelt in Milwaukee in 1912.

The Kirkbride was demolished some time in the twentieth century, but the hospital continues as the Winnebago Mental Health Institute. On the hospital grounds can be found the Julaine Farrow Museum, named after a hospital nurse and author of a history of the institution. The museum is located in the former hospital superintendent's home. More information can be found on the museum's web site.

Other names for this hospital:

  • Northern Asylum for the Insane
  • Winnebago Mental Health Institute