The farm the patients built.

posted on 3rd of december, 2007

Norwood Health Center is a mental health facility in Wisconsin.
It can trace it’s beginnings back to 1910 when it started as Wood County Insane Asylum

By 1930 it had well over 200 patients with a variety of disabilities.
They were self sufficient and ran a very large farm with over 1000 acres.

The first superintendent of the facility was L.E. Gilson , he was a very intelligent and caring man. He treated all the patients as if they were his sons and daughters.
Once the main facility was built to house all the patients Mr. Gilson drew up the plans and had all the other buildings on the farm built by himself and the patients.
People told him this was not possible because the patients lacked the brains to do it, but he told them that was his problem and that he would deal with it.

When the county bought the property it came with one barn on it.
Shortly after the asylum was built the barn caught fire and burned to the ground.

The patients were devastated as they were very attached to some of the animals that were lost in the fire.

Mr. Gilson told the patients not to worry because they would build a barn to replace the one that burned and it would never burn again because they would make it all out of brick and cement.
They barn has passed the test of time and still stands today. Even the floors and pens were made of bricks and cement. It had a new roof put on but otherwise even the cement post to tie the horses up to is still there.
When L.E. Gilson was asked why he is going through so much work for the patients he replied he was trying to make a home for the unfortunates that life has given the heaviest cross to bear.

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Photo credits: Dave Willman.

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