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State Hospital exhibit opens at museum [UPDATED]

Published 9:45am Wednesday, February 1, 2012 Updated 11:46am Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Otter Tail County Historical Museum is hosting an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, to celebrate the unveiling of its new exhibition, “The State Welcomes: Minnesota’s Third State Hospital.”

Refreshments will be served along with a program, “Stories from the State Hospital,” at 6 p.m.

Of all the institutions and organizations in the history of Otter Tail County, the one that evokes the most interest is the Fergus Falls State Hospital. In the decades following its opening on July 31, 1890, the state hospital dominated the cultural and economic landscape of the area.

For nearly 117 years, this remarkable facility provided care for a segment of people the general population would have rather ignored.

Now that the hospital is closed and its fate uncertain, the region is faced with the difficult decision of what to do next.

Using photographs and artifacts, the exhibit provides a general history of the facility as it evolved through the administration of its superintendents: Alonzo Williamson, 1890-1892; George Welch, 1892-1927; William Patterson, 1927-1968; and Robert Hoffman, 1968-1984.

For more information call the museum at 218-736-6038 or visit


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