Archived Story

The Site

Published 10:25am Monday, May 7, 2012

The legislature of 1885 provided for a commission to locate a site for a new hospital for the insane. St Peter and Rochester both being in the southern portion of the state, the third hospital was sure to come north of the Twin Cities. The commission visited the various towns in northern Minnesota, but the competition did not arise to the dignity of the contest. The geographical location of Fergus Falls, its excellent railway accommodations, its splendid drainage, its inexhaustible supply of pure water, its fertility of soil, its fresh and unpolluted air, made it an easy matter for the commission to decide. All that the city was asked to do was to build a sewer to the hospital grounds, extend the water mains and secure it the required land at a reasonable price. This was done and the legislature of 1887 ordered the work of the building to proceed.

The Hospital is located at the northwestern portion of the city. It stands on high ground considerably above the city, And it is visible for miles in every direction. To the east of it is Opperman Lake. While in front of it is Lake Alice and the City and in every direction, a sweep of country which excites the admiration and praise of all who see it.


I believe if the City would focus more on the task and not the fear of the task they would not keep tripping over the same stone. It’s hard to see a rainbow when your looking through dark glasses. Instead of always considering the RTC size as its biggest downfall perhaps that should be its greatest asset? If it was smaller we could say let’s turn it into a fish house, but it’s not so the possibilities could be endless. Also why must we focus on the condition of the RTC? Is it really that bad?

Should we also tear down the homes in this community that are in need of repair? Maybe they would not be in such dismay if there were more employment opportunities here, opportunities that could create jobs for our community and give our children the chance to work here and keep their families in this beautiful city if the RTC project were handled properly (and in a much more timely manner)? Has the news of this property had proper media coverage in areas where perhaps someone or some company who has so many bags of money that they wont fit in a bank can see the story? Someone who realizes that the greatest risk is not taking one? Someone who realizes that the boat goes a little faster if you don’t have the anchor in the water? Someone who understands that you can grow a rose in a garbage pail? Someone who knows that the RTC is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of priceless? Someone who will not fold at the slightest adverse circumstance? Someone who is not operating under the assumption that constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating?

Have you ever driven by the (WestRidge) Mall (for example) or any other building built in the last 50 years or so and said, “Wow Cool Building”? I’m guessing not.

Could you imagine if the RTC was transformed into a Vacation attraction or a multi-business complex the amount of dollars that would pour into this community.

The thought of tearing down the RTC is like pouring stupid gas on a crazy fire!

Today we do not have the technology, the money, or the craftsmanship to build such a place. I hope it can survive and if handled properly by the City of Fergus Falls and the person or persons the city allows to proceed with the project the land and buildings could become a gold mine of opportunities.

My compliments to all that are trying to save it!

Loren Rieken

Fergus Falls


  • Kirkbride lover

    Well said Loren Rieken!

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