Pueblo County, Colorado
Colorado Insane Asylum
1900 - 1909
Summit County Journal 7-14-1900
The State Board of Charities and Corrections, through its secretary, C. L. Stonaker, has prepared a report of the population of the various state institutions... In the Insane Asylum, 312 males and 182 females
Summit County Journal 11-10-1900
Colorado Notes – A summary of the reports of the state institutions for October has been prepared by the secretary of the board of charities and correction… Insane hospital, Pueblo, present, 315 males and 181 females.
Colorado Transcript 12-26-1900
The insane asylum report will show that the commissioners think Dr. A. P. Busey has made a success as superintendent and that the institution was ably conducted. The report will place the value of the asylum property at $468,000 and will ask for appropriations to the amount of $345,000 for the biannual period now commencing.
Summit County Journal 2-9-1901
Colorado's Wards All Accounted For – Denver, Colo., Feb. 5. – Secretary Stonaker of the state board of charities and correction has compiled a statement giving the census of the different state institutions, with statistics showing the number of paroles and pardons issued, the inmates received and discharged, and the deaths… The insane asylum had 495 inmates. In January three males and three females were received; three males and one female were discharged, and two males and two females died.
Colorado Springs Gazette 2-10-1901
Colorado State Insane Asylum – Written for the Gazette by Ellis Meredith – If there is any pleasure in madness it is one that only madmen know. Of all the sad sights to be seen in the state's institutions, there are none sadder than those to be found at the insane asylum in Pueblo. This is the saddest of all, because, in the main, these are they that suffer without hope. The patients in this asylum are four-fifths of them incurable. It would seem as if the very helplessness of these poor people would have made them the objects of especial care and interest, and that whatever else was lacking, they would have been properly attended to, but this, unfortunately, is not true. It is not expedient or necessary to go into the past history of the establishment. Enough money has been spent at the asylum to have made it a model institution if it had been spent on it, as was the intention. When Dr. A. P. Busey came to Pueblo to take charge, he found a state of affairs that would have utterly discouraged a weaker man. He has brought order out of chaos, system out of hopeless entanglement and the inmates are better cared for and better fed and nursed than they have ever been in the past. Both the men's and women's buildings are as cleanly and neat as possible. The help is efficient and faithful; if the nurses were not extraordinarily loyal they would have struck long ago, for they have not received a penny for the last four months. When a man or woman takes his life in his hands and lives and sleeps and eats among the insane for a month, he ought to receive that stipend with some small degree of regularity. To be sure, there is ordinarily no danger. There are only in the neighborhood of 12 patients who are violent, but no one can tell when lunatics are going to become violent, or what is going to fire their miserable brains and set them off in wild convulsions or a homicidal mania. The asylum was established in 1879, and the plan was made as they have frequently, if not always, been made in the older institutions, for larger buildings. The building now used entirely for male patients was put up first, and the hospital opened in October, 1879, with 12 patients; some of them helped materially in the construction of the new building, and in November, 1883, the present main building was completed, with the exception of the west wing. Other legislatures were petitioned for money, and the woman's building was erected, but for years the asylum has been handicapped by a net deficit at the end of each biennial period. When the last assembly met, the asylum needed over $117,000 to get through the coming biennial; it received $32,500, and the net deficit at the present time is $19,487.92. The property of the asylum is valued at nearly half a million, and includes 80 acres of land that is almost available, or could be, for city lots; water rights, small buildings and three main buildings. The land is poor, but by dint of hard work and great care has produced a supply of vegetables, and there are chickens and pigs and a few cows, enough to furnish milk for the sick. During the past two years many small improvements have been made, adding to the convenience of the place, and the comfort of the inmates, and also making places for a few more patients, but when one sees what remains to be done, it is little short of appalling. In the first place, it would seem as if the first thing that would be guarded against in such an institution would be fire. On the contrary, the whole affair is so constructed that a fire, if it had even a few moments' headway, would wrap the whole building in flames. Everything in the way of a chimney, or a draft – the elevator flues, the dust chutes and the stairways are all wooden. Before those bewildered brains could guide these hapless creatures to the only means of exit, those means would be cut off. Any morning we may wake up to such a horror as will not be forgotten in the history of the state. The ventilation is very poor, and on a cold day the wards are permeated with that sickening institution scent that no one ever forgets. There is no means of ventilation, except by opening windows. The sanitary appliances are poor and inadequate. The bath tubs in the men's buildings are the old, zinc, boxed-in affairs. In the woman's building they are a little better, but when one considers what it means for an attendant to bathe over 60 women in one tub, and get them all bathed at least once a week, some of the difficulties of the situation will be apparent. The meals are better than can ordinarily be found in such establishments, as the following bills of fare, taken hap-hazard, will prove: Monday, January 21, 1901: Breakfast – Beef Stew, Oat Meal, Bread and Butter, Syrup, and Coffee; Dinner – Boiled Salt Pork, Parsnips and Cabbage, Pickles, and Bread; Supper – Stewed Peaches, Bread and Butter, Celery, Syrup, and Tea. Friday, January 25, 1901: Breakfast – Beef Stew, Oat Meal, Bread and Butter, Syrup, and Coffee; Dinner – Boiled Rolled Corn Beef, Cabbage, Onions and Beets, and Bread; Supper – Stewed Prunes, Bread and Butter, Celery, Tea, and Syrup. Sunday, January 27, 1901: Breakfast – Beef Hash, Bread and Butter, Coffee, and Syrup; Dinner – Sausages, Onions, Kraut and Parsnips, Bread, and Pies; Supper – Stewed Apples, Bread and Butter, Ginger Bread, Celery, Tea, and Syrup. The show feature of the asylum, however, is its model laundry. All persons who contemplate visiting the institution must make a note of this, for nothing like that laundry can be found outside San Francisco's Chinatown. It's a good thing to see and remember; given a room reeking with steam and the scent of piles of dirty clothing, and other piles of partially washed clothing on a cement floor; no stationary tubs, no machinery, not even a clothes pole, strings across the room with clothing hanging from them, more clothes freezing in the wind outdoors, for there is no drying-room; a similar room upstairs with about as many conveniences for doing the ironing, and there you have it, the beautiful and perfectly appointed laundry where the washing is to be done for some three hundred men. It is a shame and a disgrace, if anyone wants to know. The kitchen: - that kitchen is something to make angels and any woman that has ever kept house, weep. If I hadn't used up so many adjectives on the laundry it would be easier to say things about the kitchen. The kitchen is a kind of rabbit warren under the building, without form and void, having no particular plan, and dark alleyways leading no-whither. Of course there is no cold-storage plant in connection with it; the kind of one that is needed with an ice-making attachment will cost $3,060. How food is ever conveyed from that kitchen to the dining rooms in the wards above, so that it shall still be warm when it gets there, is a riddle. The inmates help a good deal in the kitchen; the cook and his assistant are hired, the rest of the work is done by patients. I trust they are all incurables for the kitchen would make them so in a very short time. As to the buildings: the oldest one has been riveted together in several places with long iron bars, and needs some more of them. There are cracks in the walls that one can put his hand in. It is lit with gas which increases the danger from fire, and has long ago been discarded for electricity in all institutions that make any pretense of being down to date. The heating plant is old, worn out and inadequate. If the buildings have ever had a coat of paint since they were erected there is no evidence of it, and they are in sad need of it now, woodwork and brick alike. The woman's building is better than that of the men because it is newer. The women inmates, for a wonder, present a better appearance than the men also. They are neater, look cleaner, whether they are or not, and do not seem so hopelessly besotted, though some of them belong to the idiot class. The board of control makes this summary of the appropriations needed: Building improvements – Three cottages and one addition, and furnishings, $160,000. Internal improvements, $65,000. Repair fund, $8,000. Maintenance fund for 200 additional insane and ten new attendants, $53,656.87. Fire insurance, three years, $3,330, or five years, $4,995. Maintenance fund, 1901 – 1902, for present asylum population, with six additional nurses, $115,000. Deficit previous biennial period, $18,636.44. Deficit last biennial period, $19,467.92. Total deficit, $38,104.36. This may seem a somewhat scathing criticism of the asylum, and it deserves it, but too much cannot be said for the management, or the conscientious work of the board of control. Dr. Busey is one of the best posted men on the care of the insane to be found in the country. He is eminently practical, and has the executive ability to turn everything to account that is not often found among professional men. The steward, Mr. Joseph H. Loor, has a set of books which make a complete record of everything in connection with the asylum and its affairs; they show what money the patients have, their effects, the supplies issued, and the hours and wages of every employee. This is an innovation that has already proved its value, and which will be of increasing interest in the future. The matron is the right woman for the place; it takes “Triplett” to do the work necessary in that institution, and Dr. Williams impresses one as thoroughly understanding her business. The thing that will remain with one after a visit to this place is the dreariness of it all. There is no library; there isn't even the universal Bancroft that is to be found in every other institution inside the state limits; there are no pictures, or papers, and only a few old magazines in the last stages of decrepitude. There is no social life except as the inmates huddle together in the pleasant sun rooms at the ends of the corridors off which their bedrooms open. This complete absence of anything like normal social life is bound to have a bad effect on the patients. It is a wonder there are any cures. All asylums that are doing really effective work make a feature of developing this side of life. It is necessary to appeal to the often partly atrophied faculties of enjoyment and appreciation by way of reclaiming the lost mind. Therefore, in Toledo, for instance, there is a dance at the asylum every Friday night. There isn't a better floor in the city than that one, and many Toledo people, who are interested in the asylum, go out to these dances. The assembly room is very large – there are close to 2,000 patients there, and there is a good stage, and a grand piano, and they have concerts and entertainments for the benefit of these state wards. Nothing of the kind has ever been done at Pueblo. There is no possible way to do it, because there is no such thing as an assembly or amusement hall. This is one of the requirements that must be met in the near future unless we are willing to have Colorado stand down at the tail end of the column of states in the care of the insane. Neither is there much chance for classification or individual attention; the hospital, to give it the proper name, is too crowded and too hampered for funds in every line to admit of this. There are 42 epileptics there whose presence certainly does not tend to the peace and happiness of their fellows, and there are a few of the feeble-minded class, that ought to be in a separate place, where they could have the treatment calculated to make them something better, and there are a very few criminal insane who should for obvious reasons be placed in an entirely separate dwelling. The hospital at Pueblo should be entirely renovated as soon as possible. The other wing should be added to the Woman's building; a steam plant and one for electric lighting should be put up; there should be a laundry and an amusement hall, and paint and cement and paper and new roofing and the capacity should be increased to make room for 800 inmates. When this is done all will have been done that is possible. The state should build hereafter in accordance with the plans that have been found effective elsewhere. The Pueblo asylum should be made a home for incurables. It can never, by any expenditure, be made a desirable place for patients who are suffering from a temporary loss of mind. This plain statement will not please the Pueblo contingent in the legislature, for they seem to feel that it is a reflection on Pueblo to point out certain self-evident truths. The location is bad for several reasons; the eighty acres of land is now within the city limits; railway trains go shrieking and whistling past it on three sides, so that nervous patients suffer terribly from loss of sleep for weeks and sometimes months after their removal to the asylum. The nature of the soil makes it difficult to get reasonable returns from it, and the grounds are treated as a public park by the tribe of Pueblos living in that vicinity, and as a thoroughfare for those who wish to pass through. It is hard enough to be compelled to send those we love to an asylum; it is intolerable that they should be made public a spectacle. There is a certain amount of heartlessness on the part of relatives of the insane. They seem to feel the same dread and aversion that many people show towards a corpse, and hasten away to try to forget. Perhaps it is because a lunatic is a being in which something is dead, but there is no gain-saying the feeling. There are patients at Pueblo who have wealthy relatives who have never sent them so much as a change of clothing, a book, a pretty picture or a bright ribbon. Sometime, when the state gets out of debt, and comes to its senses, a hospital will be built for the insane. It will be on the cottage plan, and there will be a gymnasium, and plenty of land, and an amusement hall, and simple employment with some variety, and a larger understanding of the things that are necessary to minister to a mind diseased. In this place, that which was crooked will be made straight, and those who see through a glass darkly will at last behold the sun of twentieth century righteousness arise with healing in his beams. And before the twentieth century shall have reached its meridian we shall have learned the fifth beatitude and extend to others the mercy we would implore for ourselves, the humanity we now extend to the lower animals. The only fault to be found with the present management of the asylum is that under it the death rate has decreased. It was once believed that the insane suffered nothing, but this is a belief no longer cherished. Some of them suffer only as an animal of a low order of intelligence might suffer, but many of them suffer intensely and continually, and our civilization says that all possible means, of every description, may be used to prolong their sufferings, and stretch out their awful death in life. Nothing may be done to shorten their agony by a day. As I looked at these wrecks of humanity, helpless, hopeless, tortured with all the sad dreams that may come when the soul finds its habitation intolerable and deserts it, I remember these lines of Percival Pickering: - “Why, since death is inevitable, is not science to smooth its path as well as the pathway of life? Is there not something pitiful in the object clinging to an already decaying body? In the acceptance of a miserable pittance of life, no matter how intolerable to ourselves or actively injurious to our fellows? By all means let us bear pain with fortitude, so long as there is a reasonable motive for thus doing, let us cling to life so long as recovery is possible, so long as existence holds possibilities of service to our fellows. But when these are gone why not recognize and meet the knowledge unflinchingly? Surely, when we are so far advanced along the Valley of the Shadow, we may reasonably consider that we have paid our debt to humanity and become free agents. It is in this, then, that science should aid us. Its knowledge should be exerted to contrive how the tortured suffered can best sink to rest, charmed by entrancing dreams, lulled by the strains of exquisite music, surrounded by the perfume of flowers, by all which might enhance his vision and soothe his senses with delight. Is there not more common sense in such a system than in that which condemns us to be tortured, or still worse, to torture our dear ones under a strained conception of duty? Since moments of pain may seem an eternity, we can dimly picture to ourselves what months of lingering agony must often mean to the dying. The truest philosophy after all consists in rendering the inevitable palatable, and the true aim of science must lie in the desire of mitigating the evils of existence. Ask any sane being if this is not true – ask your own soul if this is not a wider mercy than can be found in the most perfectly appointed padded cell. Why should this worthless tenure endure, if its undying guest be forgotten forever?”
Longmont Ledger 3-1-1901
So full of patients is the state insane asylum at Pueblo that the overflow is sent to a private asylum conducted by Dr. Work in that place. Boulder county has several of the unfortunates at Dr. Work's, and it pays $1.00 a day for each one. It is said Boulder county has now twenty-nine patients in the state asylum. – Boulder Herald.
Glenwood Post 8-10-1901
Colorado's Capital – Charities and Corrections – Secretary Stonaker of the State Board of Charities and Corrections has received the following July reports from state institutions: State Insane Asylum, Pueblo, male 320; female, 184. Died, male, three; female, two. Received, male, six; female, two.
Eagle County Times 9-7-1901
Colorado's Capital - In a compilation which is being made by Secretary Stonaker of the State Board of Charities and Correction, the rather startling fact has been deduced that one person in every 750 of the state's population is insane. The ratio appears to be increasing rather than decreasing, as little more than a year ago the percentage showed but one person in every 1,000 mentally unsound. The papers which the secretary is preparing relate to the State Home for Insane at Pueblo. The home has a capacity of 500 and is full all the time. Many counties have insane patients which are cared for at the counties' expense in private institutions. This condition has caused a controversy among the counties, many commissioners intimating that favoritism is being shown and that many counties have more than their just proportion of the beds in the state asylum. The compilation shows a condition which will require the state to erect another institution for the insane at an early date. There is no money for this purpose at present. Almost enough insane persons are cared for privately at the expense of counties to fill another institution. Some of the patients are kept in jail, which is in violation of the law, which will be enforced by the charities board. The penalty fixed is $10 for each day of such confinement, assessed against the county officers responsible. Most of the 500 patients at the State Home are hopelessly insane and the only vacancies occur when one dies or, at equally uncertain periods, when one is cured. The following counties have already exceeded their pro rata allowance of patients: Boulder, El Paso, Pueblo, Huerfano, Las Animas, Saguache, Clear Creek, San Miguel, Gilpin, Weld, Lake and Larimer. A majority of the remaining counties in the state have their full quota of lunatics in the asylum, but Baca, Grand, Custer and Rio Blanco counties have no patients there at all. Secretary Stonaker will communicate with the state authorities, giving a statement of the condition of affairs and asking their co-operation in providing a place for the insane in the several counties, pending the erection of another insane asylum.
Longmont Ledger 4-12-1902
Pueblo County is rapidly coming to the condition in which Arapahoe county found itself by reason of lack of accommodations at the State Insane Asylum for all the insane of the state. During the month of March there were fifteen persons adjudged insane in the County Court. The county is now at an expense of between $700 and $800 a month for the care of insane persons for whom room cannot be found at the asylum.
Breckenridge Summit County Journal 5-3-1902
Dr. Peter R. Thombs died at Pueblo on April 28th, at the age of sixty-two. Dr. Thombs served through the war as an army surgeon, acquiring enviable distinction. He came to Pueblo soon after the war and was one of the oldest physicians in the state. For many years he was superintendent of the State Insane Asylum. A wife and one daughter survive him.
Fort Collins Weekly Courier 7-30-1902 The state insane asylum contains over 500 inmates. In Dr. Hubert Works' hospital there are 150 insane people who are being cared for by the different counties. Secretary Sonaker of the state board of charities and corrections says at the present rate of increase there will be 1,200 insane persons under the care of the state within the next twelve months.
Kiowa County Press 1-9-1903
Report of State Board of Charities and Correction – Denver, Jan. 6. – The sixth biennial report of the State Board of Charities and Correction was filed yesterday with Governor Orman. The report makes numerous recommendations for legislative action… It recommends a new hospital for the insane to be built in the northern part of the state, and for that reason does not recommend the buildings asked for by the lunacy commission at Pueblo, for male patients, but does ask for $50,000 for the completion of the building for women patients at Pueblo. It recommends an appropriation of $180,000 for maintenance of the Pueblo asylum, besides one of $26,000 for repairs and improvements. It urges also a general revision of the laws relating to the commitment and discharge of insane patients.
Alamosa Journal 1-15-1903
Governor Orman's message
Governor Orman stated that the insane asylum is in financial a deficiency of $25,000, and also stated: “For many years the facilities for the proper care of the insane in this state have been entirely too limited.” He recommended as a remedy for the overcrowded condition and confinement of insane persons in jails, county hospitals, etc., the erection of a new state building to be located remote form the noise of the city or railroad. There only curable cases should be committed.
Summit County Journal 1-17-1903
Colorado's Progress Shown In Governor Orman's Message – … The population of the state penitentiary on November 30, 1902, was 621, an increase of 107 over the number reported two years ago. There have been discharged by expiration of sentence 195… transferred to insane asylum, 1…
Kiowa County Press 3-20-1903
Colorado General Assembly and Doings at the Capital - After a trip lasting two days, in which four state institutions were visited, the house committee on state institutions returned to Denver last night, says the Denver News of March 16th… As a result of the visits, numerous improvements will likely be made during the next two years at all of the state institutions. At Pueblo the greatest sum will probably be expended at the insane asylum. The committee found that the institution is overcrowded, and it is estimated that there are nearly 350 insane persons now being cared for in the various counties of the state who should be in the insane asylum, but cannot be accommodated because of lack of room. The management of the asylum has asked for $255,000 for new buildings to be erected during the next two years. This sum is not likely to be allowed in its entirety, but it seemed to be the sense of the committee last night that at least $200,000 should be granted this institution for new buildings. This will be used in the erection of two cottages for the care of male patients and an additional wing to the building now known as the women's ward. It is expected that these new buildings will accommodate fully 300 more patients. Fifty thousand dollars has also been asked for maintenance in addition to the one-fifth of a mill levy which the institution now receives annually. A cut will also probably be made in this maintenance fund, and it is likely that the committee will allow but $40,000 for this.
Alamosa Journal 5-07-1903
There are now 113 patients in the new insane ward of the Denver County Hospital, all of whom should be sent to the insane asylum at Pueblo as soon as the proposed enlargements are made. State Engineer Carpenter has been requested by the board of Insane Asylum at Pueblo to give advice as to the best method of protecting the asylum grounds from flood waters of the Arkansas river. He spent May 1st. in making a investigation. The river has encroached on several acres of land which it is desired to reclaim.
Kiowa County Press 5-8-1903
Colorado State Affairs and Doings at the Capital City – There are now 113 patients in the new insane ward of the Denver County Hospital, all of whom should be sent to the insane asylum at Pueblo as soon as the proposed enlargements are made… State Engineer Carpenter has been requested by the Board of (the) Insane Asylum at Pueblo to give advice as to the best method of protecting the asylum grounds from flood waters of the Arkansas river. He spent May 1st in making an investigation. The river has encroached on several acres of land which it is desired to reclaim.
Aspen Weekly Times 5-16-1903
Asylum of Their Own – Denver, May 11. – Twelve counties in the northern part of the state are considering the advisability of withdrawing all their insane patients from the asylum at Pueblo and placing them in a new insane asylum built by them. The counties are Sedgwick, Phillips, Yuma, Washington, Logan, Weld, Larimer, Boulder, Clear Creek, Jefferson and Gilpin. Sheriff Sipple of Boulder county is at the head of the movement.
Eagle County Blade 6-25-1903
Colorado State Affairs And Doings At The Capital City - Plans for $152,000 worth of improvements to the State Insane Asylum at Pueblo were favorably considered and virtually approved by the State Board of Charities and Correction at its meeting June 17th. These improvements, which were authorized by the last Legislature, and provided for by appropriation, will consist of two $45,000 cottages for male patients, a $50,000 addition to the female department, and a $12,000 amusement hall. The latter will have a billiard room, dancing hall and bowling alley and reading room. The cottages will accommodate 100 patients each.
Colorado Transcript 10-08-1903
Father J. H. Malone left Denver October 2nd. On a trip of investigation in the different penal and charitable institutions of the state. Father Malone is a member of the State Board of Charities and Corrections. And it is in the connection with this that he makes the trip. He arranged to visit the state penitentiary, the state reformatories and the insane asylum before returning.
Castle Rock Journal 10-30-1903
(excerpt) The asylum is now crowded beyond capacity with 503 patients.
Longmont Ledger 10-30-1903
The report brought to Denver by the committee of officials who went to Pueblo a few days ago to inspect the state insane asylum indicates that it is now crowded beyond capacity, to the number of 503 patients. The officials had expected that by going to the state asylum they might discover some plan, during a conference with the superintendent, by which the insane wing of the city and county hospital of Denver might be relieved of its congestion of patients. No relief from this condition, however, could be devised by the asylum authorities, and the Denver hospital insane wards will remain crowded until the additions at the asylum are completed. The Denver official party included County Judge B. B. Lindsey, Superintendent William Clark of the county hospital, Supervisor Uzzell, Alderman Patton and Commissioner of Supplies Alexander Nisbet.
Colorado Transcript 1-07-1904
The State Board of Charities and Correction, established in 1891, has just completed its twelfth year. Its present membership is as follows: Governor Peabody, ex-officio; Dr. Eleanor Lawney. President; Rev. T.H. Malone, vice-president; Mrs. Sarah S. Decker, Rev. William S Friedman, Dr. D. H. Dougan, and Professor L.C. Greenlec. Clarence E Hagar is secretary. The work of the State Board of Charities and Correction is mainly advisory and supervisory in its nature. At the beginning of the fiscal year, there were 1,928 inmates cared for in the eight state institutions. At the close of the year there were 1,979. Building is being pushed at a rapid rate at the Insane Asylum, Pueblo. The urgent needs of the 300 acute cases now being cared for in the various counties prompted large appropriations by the last General Assembly, and two large cottages for men and an addition to the women's building, each to accommodate 100 are soon to be finished. The amusement hall , a beautiful structure, is up to the first story. The average health in all the institutions is remarkably good, few cases of sickness being reported. Even among the insane, an exceptionally small number suffer from other than mental diseases. A careful watch is kept to detect cases of tuberculosis, but out of 1,979 inmates cared for in state institutions, only twelve are victims of this disease.
Creede Candle 8-20-1904
O.S. Storrs of the City Board of Charities in Denver has received an assurance from the officers of the State Insane Asylum at Pueblo that the congestion at the insane ward of the City hospital will be relieved within the next few weeks. On Monday next thirty-five women are to be taken from the City hospital to the State Insane Asylum, and about the middle of September fifty men are to be removed. The taking away of these unfortunates will give the city a better opportunity to give proper care to those left. At present the ward for the insane is overcrowded so much that the inmates do not receive the care due. At Pueblo they can be kept out of doors a greater part of the time, giving those who can be cured a much better chance for recovery.
Alamosa Journal 8-26-1904
The completion of the new wing of the State Insane Asylum at Pueblo will somewhat relieve the crowded conditions at the county hospital at Denver, as twenty-five of the women of the insane ward are to be removed at once to the new quarters.
Summit County Journal 6-24-1905
Colorado State Institutions – Denver, June 17. – Secretary Hagar of the State Board of Charities and Corrections, in discussing the recent visit of the board to the state institutions, said yesterday that the thing that most impressed them was the inability of the state to take care of its insane. The last two legislatures have been generous and the new buildings at the institution are only recently completed, but they are not enough. The day the board was there, there were 761 inmates, of whom more than 700 are declared to be incurable. The place is worked to its capacity right now and the county hospitals are full of persons who should be at the asylum…
Fort Collins Weekly Courier 1-10-1906
Thirty-Six Cents A Day To Care For State's Insane – It cost Colorado just thirty-six cents a day to care for its insane wards during 1905, according to a report made to Governor McDonald by Dr. A.P. Busey, superintendent of the Pueblo asylum. Dr. Busey says this is a remarkable showing, which, he thinks, cannot be excelled by any similar institution in any country. There are 759 insane patients in the institution, of whom 277 are women and 482 men. – Denver Times.
Creede Candle 1-13-1906
Insane Asylum: New buildings are needed: Financial condition Good- Number of insane rapidly increasing- Sixty patients in Denver County Hospital- Small per capita expense: With insanity on the increase in Colorado, the State Insane Asylum crowded to its utmost capacity, sixty insane women waiting in the Denver County Hospital for accommodations at Pueblo, and every county in the state puzzling over the problem of the care of its own citizens who are mentally unbalanced, Dr. A. P. Busey, superintendent of the Colorado asylum, in his annual report strongly urges a definite consideration of the situation. “Some person has said Colorado could not take steps at this time to make further provisions for the insane.” says Dr. Busey. “I would like to know what more worthy cause or what greater charity Colorado has than the insane upon which to bestow care and protection.” Many of these people have been good citizens and taxpayers, and now that they are helpless and defenseless they are entitled to asylum and protection, and should not longer be kept in almshouses, jails and other unfit places of abode. All friends of the insane should urge upon the next Legislature the importance of making some provisions for these unfortunate people, as other states do. The time to successfully treat the insane is immediately after the attack begins, and this cannot be done if some place is not provided where they can be taken. One reason today why Colorado has so many hopeless, incurable insane is because they have been confined in jails and poorhouses awaiting admission to the overcrowded insane asylum, until their cases have become chronic and incurable before they could obtain treatment. This is an injustice to the insane, and inasmuch as the state has these wards, it should have institutions in which to treat them. There are present in the institution at Pueblo 759 patients, of whom 277 are women and 482 men. During the year the total number treated was 901. New accommodations were made last year for 300 additional patients, and these are almost all filled. “The number of insane persons is rapidly increasing throughout the state” the superintendent declares, “and more additions will have to be provided or a new asylum will be built. There are sixty women now in Denver County Hospital awaiting admission.” The financial condition of the institution, Dr. Busey says is excellent. With the legislative appropriation of $110,000, and the 1-5th mill from the tax levy, he believes the biennial period will be ended without debt. Some interesting figures are given regarding the cost of caring for the insane of Colorado. The monthly average of expenditures for wages, maintenance, etc., for the year just closed was $6,144.56, or a daily per capita expense of less than 36 cents. Even with the improvements that were made last year the per capita expense is estimated at but 41 cents. This is considered a remarkable showing, which Dr. Busey says cannot be improved upon by any insane asylum in the country.
Summit County Journal 10-27-1906
Insanity and Typhoid – Insane Persons Suffer in Hospitals and Jails – Denver. – At the regular quarterly meeting of the State Board of Charities and Corrections Secretary Clarence C. Hagar submitted a report of conditions at the various state institutions. With the exception of sickness among the inmates at the State Home for Dependent and Neglected Children and in the insane asylum at Pueblo, conditions are satisfactory in all institutions. There has been an unusual number of cases of typhoid fever at the insane asylum, and Dr. Busey, chief physician in charge, says the epidemic has appeared all along the Arkansas river. The cold weather and snow will undoubtedly bring it to a close. Dr. Busey also calls attention to the wretched condition of insane persons who are forced to remain for a long period in county jails and hospitals before removal to Pueblo. Many cases are rendered hopeless by the lack of facilities for proper treatment in these places. There are fifty-three women and thirty-seven men patients in the insane wards of the Denver county hospital who should be at Pueblo, but cannot be taken there because there is not sufficient room at the state asylum. Typhoid fever has also appeared at the state penitentiary in a less aggravated form. Here also there is not adequate room for insane prisoners.
Creede Candle 12-22-1906
Needed by Insane Asylum
Denver – Secretary C.E. Hager of the State Board of Charities and corrections has received from Dr. A.P. Busey, superintendent of the insane asylum at Pueblo, a request for the next biennial appropriation. The money needed by the asylum to carry out necessary plans during the next two years will aggregate $467,500.
Following is the list of sums desired:
Three new cottages…………….……150,000
Cottage for steward………….…………2,000
Cold storage plant…………….………10,000
Webster heating system………………18,000
Two additional boilers…………………4,000
Laboratory and hospital Improvements.2,500
For adjacent lots and land……..…….55,000
Ventilation of kitchen………………..1,000
Store room, dining room, etc.…..…..15,000
San Juan Prospector 1-5-1907
The financial condition of the State Insane Asylum is certainly excellent. There are no deficits to report and on account of the economical management it will not be necessary to make an emergency appropriation covering the first quarter of the present biennial period as that institution has plenty of funds on hand to enable it to properly conduct its business during that time. The asylum is, however, in a greatly overcrowded condition and unable to accommodate upwards of 200 insane now confined in county jails and hospitals. New buildings should be erected either at the present site of the institution, or elsewhere, for their accommodation. If a new hospital is decided upon, provision should be made for the care of epileptics in a separate building.
Fort Collins Courier 1-23-1907
Would Move Insane Asylum to Denver – Superintendent Bussey Says Pueblo Location of Asylum Is Too Noisy and Unappropriate. Special to the Courier – Denver. Jan. 19. – Dr. A. P. Bussey, superintendent of the state insane asylum, has made a recommendation to the board of lunacy commissioners that the insane asylum be removed to Denver. The recommendation is contained in the lunacy board's biennial report and has been submitted to the governor. The superintendent's reasons for making the change are that the surroundings of the asylum are too noisy and unappropriate. The plan to change is much opposed in Pueblo and the people of that city will fight any effort to execute it.
San Juan Prospector 2-2-1907
The State Insane Asylum at Pueblo is crowded to its capacity. We are informed that nearly 200 patients who have been committed to the asylum are in the various hospitals throughout the state awaiting admission into the asylum. The question of the care of the insane is a perplexing one, and as there appears to be no place or space for the erection of additional buildings on the present site, your committee recommends legislation and appropriation for the purpose of purchasing land in some portion of the state where proper buildings could be erected, and the curable patients taken from the present asylum where they might be kept away from the violent and incurable patients. The present buildings are in need of general improvements, especially painting and kalsomining, and also improvements to the heating plant.
Creede Candle 2-2-1907
Archuleta county comes to the front with a new method of forcing the legislature to make better provision for the care of the state's insane. Representative Wilder introduced a bill asking an appropriation of $2,013.15, as reimbursement for Archuleta county for sums paid out in private institutions for the care of the county's insane. Since 1897 the state has refused to receive patients from Archuleta on the ground that the asylum is overcrowded. At a recent meeting of the Board of County Commissioners resolutions were adopted urging Representative Wilder to secure a refund from the state of the amount specified, and, also, to use his influence to get a larger appropriation for the insane asylum, so that counties will not be obliged to continue bearing a double burden of caring for the insane at their own expense and contributing to the support of the state asylum.
Telluride Daily Journal 6-11-1908
As a result of Gov. Buchtel's visit to the state insane asylum at Pueblo, it is announced the premises will be enclosed by a woven wire fence ten feet high.
San Juan Prospector 6-13-1908
Fence for the Insane Asylum: Pueblo, Co- As a result of the investigation held Tuesday by Governor Buchtel concerning conditions at the state insane asylum which was conducted at the Institution, a high wire fence will be constructed around the grounds, and a guard, night and day, will be placed at the gate. Owing to pressing business in the capital city, the governor was not able to hold as thorough an investigation as he desired, and he will return June 19th. At that time , he stated , he will be glad to confer with any persons who saw Edward Mackelfee, the insane negro, assaulted Mrs. Edward A. Jones with a hatchet April 27th. After going over the entire course taken by the negro when he escaped from the asylum, in company with A. P. Busey, superintendent of the asylum, and two nurses, this morning, Governor Buchtel examined all the witnesses to the affair who called at the asylum. The investigation was held with the assistance of Rev. J. W. Finkbiner and Dr. M.R. Virgil of Walsenburg, commissioners of the asylum. The witnesses were B.F. Scribner, Mrs. F. L. Hahn, W. C. Durfey and Mrs. J.K. Spencer. The board at the meeting on recommendation of the governor, directed Superintendent Busey to immediately have a strong wire fence built about the asylum grounds. This fence will be ten feet high, with posts approximately eight feet apart.. The high board fence at the south is supposed to be an adequate protection toward the railroad tracks. The fence on the north will be built in the best manner as a permanent fence, with strong wire. The fence on the east and west will be made as additions above the line of the present fence. The fence east and west will be temporary fences, as condemnation proceedings have been instituted to acquire more ground both at the east and west sides of the present grounds. The temporary fences will be made secure, though they will not be sightly. The grounds will be kept closed day and night. Two gatemen will be employed immediately, one for day and one for night service, and the main gate at the east will be opened only for people who have business at the asylum. With this arrangement it is hoped to prevent the escape from the grounds of any inmates of the asylum.
Telluride Daily Journal 8-14-1908
A car load of insane women, forty-eight in number, were taken from Denver a day or two ago to the asylum at Pueblo.
Record Journal of Douglas County 9-25-1908
Colorado News – Few applications have resulted from the advertisement by the state for men and women of good character and experience to fill a number of vacancies now existing in the position of nurse-attendant at the State Insane asylum at Pueblo. The salary is from $25 to $30 a month and board. Candidates must possess good health, good character, a kind and patient disposition and a common school education. Men must be at least five feet eight inches in height, women five feet four inches, and properly proportioned. Previous experience, either in nursing the sick or in caring for the insane for a period of six months or more is necessary. Ages, 25 to 50.
Oak Creek Times 2-4-1909
Needs of the Insane Asylum – Important State Institution at Pueblo Suffering From Public Apathy – More Room Required – Provisions Should Be Made For More Land and New Buildings – Denver. – The News prints a strong article by P. C. Rawling in regard to the urgent requirements of the Colorado state insane asylum. It is in part as follows: “The Colorado state insane asylum at Pueblo is a front-rank institution of those which are suffering from public apathy. Two hundred and more of Colorado's insane population are drifting into a chronic and incurable condition, because there is no room for them at Pueblo. The asylum is taxed to the limit of its accommodations to care for the present population of 900 demented and insane men, women and children. The asylum needs more land, new cottages, workshops, a library, a well equipped laboratory, an artesian well and a hydro-therapeutic bath-house. As to its administration as a state institution, it should be taken from under political control, and it should be made a specific department of the civil service. The asylum is situate on level ground, about two miles from the city of Pueblo. The location is a good one. The climate is healthy; at once mild and bracing. A high wire fence surrounds the grounds. These are laid out in well-kept lawns, in the immediate vicinity of the buildings. In summer the lawns are beautified and shaded by a healthy growth of elm, cottonwood and other trees. There is also an orchard, for the fruits of which the kitchens of the asylum create a constant demand. The most obvious need of the asylum, even to an uninterested visitor, is more land. Several states in the Union make legal provision for one acre of land to each insane patient. The Colorado institution owns and has the use of only 180 acres of land. The argument which has been made for more land in connection with most of the state institutions can be applied with redoubled force to the insane asylum. Let it be understood, then, that it would be financially advantageous to the state to give more land to the Pueblo asylum. The agricultural products, alone, of such a large population as that of the State asylum – provided the available energies of that population could be applied to easy and healthful farming pursuits – would make that institution self-supporting, and would relieve the citizens of a large burden of taxation. And this argument is in line with another and more compelling one. The insane need occupation. They require all the outdoor life they can get. The asylum needs more cottages. The board of control has asked the Legislature to appropriate $150,000 to be used for the immediate construction of three cottages. The proposed cottages will each accommodate 100 patients. One is needed for the women and two for the men. The asylum needs industrial workshops. The arguments for the establishment of such workshops are nearly the same as those I have indicated in connection with the need for more land. The manual skill of some of the insane should be applied to productive labor. The state is nothing in pocket by its neglect of the insane. The two hundred and twenty that cannot enter Pueblo have all to be cared for at public expense. What is done imperfectly by the county commissioners could be properly done, and at a lesser cost, by the trained alienists and nurses of the Pueblo asylum.
Record Journal of Douglas County 3-5-1909
The Pueblo asylum averaged a daily population of 818 during the last period, and the per capita cost was $142.24.
Creede Candle 4-10-1909
Record of Bills Passed: H. B. 345, Bellesfield-Aping $750 for the insane asylum: S. B. 385,Campbell- Granting right –of-way for the Kansas- Colorado road through the insane asylum grounds.: S. B. 51, Burris- Apportioned $294,000 for the insane asylum.
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