Pueblo County, Colorado
Colorado Insane Asylum

1910 - 1919

Telluride Daily Journal 4-11-1910
With the completion of additions to the state insane asylum at Pueblo, 142 patients in private institutions at Denver will be removed to Pueblo about June 15th.

Steamboat Pilot 12-14-1910
Makes Biennial Report (On) State Insane Asylum - Denver, Dec. 13. - Superintendent Bussey of the state asylum at Pueblo today filed with the governor his biennial report of that institution, which shows very satisfactory conditions to have prevailed during the past two years.  There has been received into the asylum 432 patients, making a total of 1,334.  There are now confined in the asylum, 1,131, and during the two years, 232 have died or were discharged.  The report asks for a biennial appropriation of $460,000.

Steamboat Pilot 12-21-1910
More Room Needed – Appropriation Will Be Asked For Enlarging State Insane Asylum – Denver, Dec. 19. – The matter of asking the legislature for increased appropriations to be used in erecting additional buildings and making other needed improvements at the state insane asylum at Pueblo, is now fairly under way, and Superintendent Busey of that institution in his biennial report just sent the governor makes specific mention of the improvements that should be made during the coming two years. In addition to the suggestions made by the superintendent, William Thomas, secretary of the board of charities and corrections, which department has much to do in shaping the affairs of the asylum to the end that the inmates may have the proper care and attention, has attempted to investigate conditions throughout the state. He has written to every county commissioners court asking for statistics touching the unfortunate insane in each county, but thus far has received only a few replies. Among some of the counties not yet heard from are Routt, Bent, Costilla, Clear Creek, Fremont, Huerfano, Gunnison, Weld, Phillips and La Plata. Secretary Thomas urges these counties to at once make reply to his inquiries so that he may intelligently make up his report to the governor regarding the needs of improvements at the asylum. That there is urgent necessity of enlarged buildings at the asylum is admitted by those familiar with conditions and the governor is in hearty accord with any reasonable movement that will give more and better buildings and additions. At least he has repeatedly expressed himself along these lines and he will not oppose any reasonable appropriation that may be asked passed by the forthcoming general session of the legislature.

Akron Weekly Pioneer Press 10-20-1911
Moving Pictures for Asylum - Pueblo. - The state Insane Asylum in Pueblo has adopted a new and unique plan for restoring reason to the mentally afflicted.  The authorities have installed a moving picture show and it is hoped the weekly diversion will be a big factor in effecting cures at the institution.  Dr. Busey, superintendent of the asylum, has adopted the plan of setting aside two days in each week for the pictorial entertainment of the patients.  

Routt County Republican 12-15-1911
Mr. Busey in Trouble – Charges have been made against the management at the state insane asylum located at Pueblo. Mr. Busey is superintendent of the institution. The affidavits made charge that the institution is filthy and infested with vermin. The charge is also made that many of the inmates have been overworked and in one case the work has brought on premature death.

Weekly Ignacio Chieftain 7-5-1912
The State Home for Mental Defectives has opened at Arvada under the direction of A. P. Busey, superintendent of the State Insane Asylum at Pueblo.

Telluride Daily Journal 1-22-1913
Investigation of State Insane Asylum Ordered - Denver, Jan. 22. - By a vote of 31 to 2 the senate late yesterday afternoon adopted a resolution authorizing the investigation of all of the state institutions for mentally defective persons. Included in this list is the insane asylum at Pueblo, the Work Institution also at Pueblo, home for mental defectives and the city and county hospital in Denver and other institutions where insane people are confined. The bill went to the house this afternoon where it will undoubtedly be adopted. Senators admitted today that the state's insane were being treated inhumanely. The methods of caring for these patients are not modern, many curable patients being so cared for that they soon become incurable.

Fort Collins Weekly Courier 2-21-1913
Urgent Needs of State Insane Asylum – By United Press – Pueblo, Feb. 18. – The senate investigating committee will introduce a resolution asking for a $1,000,000 bond issue to complete the state insane asylum. Senator Helen Ring Robinson announced today that the only remedy for the institution is to complete it and put it on a good basis for taking care of the state's insane.

Fort Collins Weekly Courier 11-28-1913
Refuses To Handle Its Own Insane. Suspected That Patients Are Being Foisted Off Onto Other Counties In State – The question is being asked here “Is Denver trying to work the counties surrounding it by sending insane people out of the county so that others will have to care for them?” This appears to be the condition of affairs on the face of thins as they now appear. With the state insane asylum crowded and notices sent out that no more will be admitted until the quota of each county is reduced, patients must be retained in private institutions, county hospitals or jails. Denver's quota has long since been filled and Pueblo refuses to take any more from that city and county. Now comes the police department of Denver with an order that no more insane people will be taken into the city jails and furthermore that those in the jails will be released to be taken care of as the relatives or authorities deem best. The county hospital in Denver also announces that it is overloaded and cannot accommodate more. Denver papers are commenting on the situation and also make the statement that Mrs. R. A. McGreagor, “picked up at the police station Sunday has escaped.” The facts in this case are that Mrs. McGreagor was taken to the county hospital in Denver and her room and care paid for. She was allowed to escape or was sent away with the result that she arrived in Loveland last week. The county authorities here were notified of her attempt to operate a restaurant of which she took forcible possession and she was brought here. Proceedings were instituted but there was a shift in the program and on Sunday Deputy Sheriff Halligan took her to Denver. Her husband met the train but did not take care of the woman. She refused to have anything to do with him. Then Halligan took her to the police station. The police refused to accept her and Halligan had a 275-pound insane woman on his hands. He did not hesitate long but went to the county hospital where he turned her in and did not permit a refusal. The papers state that the county hospital is crowded and that if an insane person is accepted she must be placed in wards with invalids. It is suspected that relatives and perhaps authorities are trying to foist these patients off onto other counties. If such a scheme is being worked it will not last long. Most county officials have long since learned the lesson of having paupers foisted off onto them by other counties and they are refusing to be worked. The same will apply to insane cases and patients will be deported to their homes.

Routt County Sentinel 11-6-1914
Insane to be Tried in Hospital – Denver. – Trials of the insane will be held in the future in the County hospital instead of in the County Court, according to announcement by Judge Ira C. Rothgerber.

Summit County Journal 1-2-1915
Asks $727,000 for State's Insane – Pueblo. – Dr. H. A. LaMoure, superintendent of the state insane asylum, has completed his appropriation request. It totals $727,000, and that amount is absolutely necessary, according to Dr. LaMoure, to insure the safety of the patients now confined in the asylum and to care for the others who are scattered about the state in various county hospitals and institutions. The following is the appropriation list made out: For maintenance, not including the one-fifth mill levy - $300,000; Artesian well - $8,000; Repairs to present buildings - $25,000; Farm buildings and equipment - $90,000; For furnishings of the farm building - $10,000; Laundry and boiler house - $30,000; Store room - $20,000; Kitchen for male department - $15,000; Tunnel - $10,000; Library and amusement - $25,000; Administration building and two new cottages - $175,000; Furnishing two cottages - $10,000; Furnishing administration building - $5,000; Amusement hall enlargements - $15,000.

Summit County Journal 1-9-1915
Deplores Failure to House Insane – Denver. – It is doubtful if there was ever a time in the history of the state insane asylum when the ability of the state to care for its insane was more deplorable than it is at present, according to the eighteenth biennial report of the Board of Lunacy Commissioners filed with the governor. There were 1,176 inmates Nov. 1 in the asylum. Nov. 30 last year there were 1,175. The total cost of the institution during the biennial period ending Nov. 30 was $360,136.02.

Akron Weekly Pioneer Press 2-26-1915
About Farm for Insane Colony - Denver. - Irrigated land suitable in all ways for a farm to be conducted in connection with the insane hospital in Pueblo is difficult to find, according to Dr. John S. Hasty, chairman of the Senate finance committee and head of a legislative joint committee which went to Pueblo and went over much land and several farms, but failed to locate any which had plenty of water and sufficient pasturage for the 200 milch cows needed to supply the institution.  "The need of a farm is apparent," said Dr. Hasty.  "The hospital has more than 1,200 patients, of whom 300 men are capable of working on a farm and who would be far better off for the work.  More mental defectives can be cured by exercise in the open air.  The expenditure of $90,000, or even more, for such a purpose would be real economy.  It would open the way to cure patients who, thereafter, would be no burden upon the state."  

Telluride Daily Journal 8-26-1915
With Denver suing the state for the collection of $50,000 spent in taking care of insane patients for lack of room at the asylum at Pueblo, and Montrose county holding out taxes due the state for the same reason, why shouldn't San Miguel county get in the game.  There are a number of persons from this county being cared for at Doc Work's private sanitarium at Pueblo at great expense to the county because there is no room for them at the asylum.  Why not get the benefit if any is to be gotten.

Summit County Journal 12-25-1915
Let Contract for Hospital Buildings – Announcement was made that the contract for the construction of the three new buildings at the state hospital for the insane at Pueblo had been let at a meeting of the State Board of Correction held in Pueblo. The successful bid was for $140,000. The central building of the proposed group will be used as an administration office and hospital, which the other two, flanking on the first building, will be dormitories capable of housing 350 or 400 additional patients. With the addition to these buildings the asylum will be able to accommodate all Colorado's insane patients, numbering now about 1,600. At present nearly 300 are being cared for in hospitals or hospital wards of jails of different counties, chiefly Denver.

Record Journal of Douglas County 2-4-1916
Attorney General Farrar has filed a reply brief for the state in the case involving the acceptance of insane patients from Denver by the state insane asylum at Pueblo. The asylum authorities refused to receive several patients sent to them and because of their refusal were found in contempt of the Denver District Court.

Colorado Transcript 3-16-1916
(excerpt) Caring for 1,131 inmates in the Pueblo asylum cost the state $190,336. Improvements at the asylum called for an expenditure of $205,000.

Routt County Republican 3-17-1916
Prisoner Gets $331 and Pupil $29 – Colorado, during 1915, paid $29 for the education of each child in the state, while housing, feeding and guarding prisoners in the penitentiary at Canon City, those in the reformatory at Buena Vista, boys in the Golden Industrial school and inmates of the Pueblo insane asylum involved a per capita expenditure of $331, according to figures prepared by Harry E. Mulnix, state auditor… Caring for 1,181 inmates in the Pueblo insane asylum cost the state $190,336… Improvements at the insane asylum, including the erection of three cottages, boiler house and laundry, and kitchen, and the construction of tunnels connecting all houses, called for an expenditure of $205,000…  

Telluride Daily Journal 4-1-1916
The three new cottages now being erected for the accommodation of patients at the State Insane Asylum in Pueblo will embody many novel architectural features.  Tapestry brick with cream terra cotta trimmings will be used for the exterior.  Each building will accommodate 100 patients.  Underground tunnels will connect the structures, their use being for the transportation of food from the kitchen and as conduits for the heating and lighting contrivances.

Weekly Ignacio Chieftain 5-26-1916
Colorado Gets Indian School - Washington. - The President signed the Indian appropriation bill which turns over the Grand Junction Indian school to the state of Colorado.  It will be used as a branch insane hospital.  The bill includes an appropriation of $15,000 to construct a road between Mesa Verde and Gallup, N. M.  The President gave the pen with which he signed the bill to Congressman Taylor of Colorado, who will present it to the Business Men's Exchange of Durango.

Telluride Daily Journal 5-30-1916
There is an agitation in Delta county now to leave the county build an asylum to care for its insane.  It is contended the county can care for its own insane cheaper than sending them to Doc Work's sanitarium at Pueblo, because of the crowded condition at the state asylum.

San Juan Prospector 7-8-1916
Governor Declares Pueblo is Preparing to Care For All Patients Denver – Governor Carlson announced in a statement to the public that all the insane in the state now being cared for by the city and county of Denver and other counties will be moved to the State Insane Asylum at Pueblo in September, when the new buildings under construction at the institution there will be ready for occupancy. If this is done, as the governor says it will be, almost every county of the state will be relieved of the maintenance of one or more insane persons whom the authorities of the asylum have refused to receive. It will relieve Denver of a burden of approximately $40,000 a year, there now being 122 insane patients at the county hospital in quarters built to accommodate sixty. In his statement the governor decries the circulation of a petition to amend the state insanity laws, and advises citizens not to sign it. This petition is being circulated by the Denver city administration, which also is supporting a petition to initiate a law to abolish the State Tax Commission.

Routt County Sentinel 7-14-1916
Denver In Its Greed Would Gobble Asylum – With its lifetime habit of wanting the rest of the state to pay the freight while that city secures the principal benefits without paying its just proportion of the expense, Denver has for some time been engaged in an effort to force the state asylum to accept all patients sent from Denver, without regard to whether or not there might be room for them. With this in view, it has asked for a vote by the people upon an initiated measure which would practically make the asylum an institution conducted first for the benefit of Denver and depriving patients from other counties of its advantages except to such extent as room might be left after all sent from Denver had first been taken care of… Denver's position in the insane asylum matter is so unwarranted, that the Boulder Camera, a Democratic paper edited by L. C. Paddock, a member of the state board of charities and corrections, editorially defends Governor Carlson against his slanderers. Mr. Paddock through his official position is familiar with the conditions at the asylum, and hence the following, from his pen, can be relied upon as correct: We regret that our Denver newspaper and political friends see fit to attack Governor Carlson and the State Board of Corrections and charge bad faith. Should the papers send reporters to Pueblo they will find every condition just as represented by the governor and the board. There is a well-conditioned insane asylum of 1,190 patients. Three cottages and a fine new kitchen for women inmates and a new heating and tunnel plant are under way. These cottages may be occupied Sept. 1 or before. They will be as nearly fire-proof as buildings may be made. Nearly all of Denver's insane patients – though not all its insane – will find quarters there calculated to meet approval of the most humane and sympathetic of sane people. The board has not arbitrarily excluded Denver patients any more than any others. It has not discriminated against Denver. It has refused to be bullyragged by Denver. It has insisted that patients be taken in the order to which counties were entitled. It has refused to place Denver's pauper insane in rooms already fully occupied. While other counties have seen to the comfort of their pauper insane, Denver has insisted on the impossible being done at the state insane asylum and now tries to throw the blame for her own inhumanity on the state. Happily Denver can't do this much longer. Within a few weeks she will be relieved of not only the obligation to care for her pauper insane but the latter of her atrocious herding of them in unsanitary quarters. Meanwhile let everybody keep cool. Denver will remain within the state no matter how it frets her.

San Juan Prospector 7-15-1916
Concerning the State's Insane – The circulation of a bill by petition to take from the State Board of Corrections certain administrative authority, together with attacks made on this Board by a part of the daily press of Denver, suggests to us the propriety of rendering to your Excellency a brief account of our stewardship.  Upon taking office you impressed upon us the pressing importance of constructing as soon as possible three new cottages at the Asylum, for which appropriations had been made by the Twentieth General assembly, effective the following August 11th.  Three days after this appropriation was available, we entered into a contract with architects for plans for the buildings.  One of our architects and the Superintendent of the Asylum visited institutions in other states so that he might be the better informed as to the construction and arrangement of these cottages.  It should be understood that Colorado has adopted the cottage plan, approved by the highest and best authorities, because of the humanity of it.  Holocausts, that have shocked the humane instincts of the world, have occurred by reason of the crowding of large numbers of these unfortunates into buildings of large capacity and several stories high.  Colorado, therefore, adopted the plan of the cottage as the unit and its maximum capacity one hundred inmates.  It so happens that the increase of pauper insane in this state is about one hundred in every biennial period, yet two General Assemblies had met and adjourned without having provided for the increase which had been left in county hospitals or at county expense in private institutions there being three-hundred insane who were entitled to care at the state institution.  The Twentieth General Assembly provided for more buildings and permanent improvements than the two preceding assemblies and these cottages were not ordered constructed without having in view a large increase in the heating plant, the tunnel system and the sewerage of the premises.  A model kitchen for male inmates was also provided for.  At the outset, the Board determined if possible to have the new cottages as nearly fire-proof as it is possible for buildings housing people to be made.  In this respect we think we shall have realized our hopes.  While assembling the materials for fire-proof construction and without any sacrifice of time, by way of hastening construction, inmates were employed in making the excavations and preparing the foundations of the new buildings.  This work resulted not only in the saving of many thousands of dollars to the state but in providing salutary labor for the men for whom labor is the best possible employment under their mental condition.  A contract for the construction of the cottages was entered into December 15th and the work has progressed to the point where we are confident that between the first and 15th of September, next, we shall be able to open them to their full capacity for occupancy by the insane.  Because of the insufficiency of accommodations at the Asylum, it has been the wisdom of the judges of the state and of the proper officials of the respective counties to make provision for their insane in such way as seemed to them best.  Lack of room at the Asylum has frequently been assumed by county courts with the result that this Board has no accurate dates to the number of insane provided for by the counties, but is informed and believes it to be true that the number is in excess of three hundred and twenty-five but not more than four hundred.  By a ruling of the State Board of Lunacy Commissioners, our immediate predecessors, the number of insane to be cared for in the State Hospital is proportional among the counties according to the ratio of their population and this proportion is to be continued.  It is charged against this Board that it is obtuse, that it is inhumane, that it is neglectful of its duty because it permits a condition in the Insane Hospital of Denver that it could relieve.  It is a matter of regret to this Board and must be to your excellency that the City and County of Denver has a public institution which by statements of its officials and the public press of the city is a disgrace to the state and inhumane in respect to the rights and interests of its unfortunates.  This Board had no information at the time it was hailed into court that such a condition obtained in Denver.  It had assumed that the same spirit of kindness, the same consideration, the same care for these unfortunates were provided for them by Denver as by all the other and even the least populous counties of the state.  But, when medical authorities took the stand in behalf of the City and County of Denver and testified to the inadequate and unsanitary provisions for the insane by Denver, the Board made an investigation at the Asylum with the view of discovering some method of relief.  The books of the institution revealed the fact that Denver had at the institution every patient to which it was entitled by the proportional representation rule of the Board.  It was proposed that the building devoted to the joint uses of chapel and amusement hall be converted into a ward for more inmates, but this chapel lacked heat, lacked water and the most elementary needs for housing people with common conveniences.  At best, it would have housed but few and there were no available funds for so converting that building.  We are advised, and believe it to be true, that environment, a pleased state of mind, amusements, and religious services are among the latest and best features for the care of such unfortunates.  The capacity of this house is so small as to hold one-half of the number of inmates, so that services and amusements, such as picture shows, have to be repeated in order that all may benefit from or enjoy them.  We have in mind the interests of those within our keeping and always the picture before us of eleven hundred and ninety unfortunates whose condition make it obligatory upon us to see that they are well housed, well fed, physically exercised and cared for as we would care for dependents within our own homes.  It has been urged that three beds may be placed in rooms now containing two.  Physically that might be done but having deep concern for those within our keeping, we say it would not be done and unless compelled by a law that shall leave the board powerless, such crowding shall not be done.  The world is making great strides towards realization of the comparative happiness and contentment of its unfortunates.  As far back as 1893, the Colorado Legislature, shocked by revelations of the inhumanities in insane asylums and by records of the deaths of inmates by reason of fire and resulting panic, laid down the policy by law that thereafter the cottage plan, with the number of inmates in each cottage limited, should be the plan of Colorado.  It is a wise plan.  Our predecessors have built beautifully and wisely and we are proceeding in pursuance of the general plan.  But because the world is progressing, we hope that we are progressing and we feel that the new fire-proof cottages will prove that we have realized your injunction to make them what they should be.  It is our hope that many of the insane may be cured.  Apparatus has been provided which has the highest medical and surgical sanction.  We feel that the initiation of a law to take from the Board the power to say when the institution is filled to capacity would be a dangerous experiment.  The Twentieth General Assembly made provision not only for the needs of the administration respecting this institution, but had made up for the neglect of past general assemblies.  Is it too much to forecast that some future general assembly will fail, as did the Eighteenth and Nineteenth, to make adequate provisions for the care of the ever-growing number of insane.  Should that happen and the Board be then deprived of the power to control the population of the institution, we shudder to contemplate the condition of the inmates already here.  Finally, it has been our hope that it would not be necessary to build more cottages at the Asylum, but that the next general assembly would provide a farm, not remote from the institution, upon which labor of a remunerative character could be found for many hundreds of the inmates.  This proposition has the sanction of humanity and of good business.  This Board has devoted much thought to it and has the assurance of Superintendent La Moure that from the stand-point of the best interests of hundreds of the inmates it is advisable.  From our own point of view it promises large economies for the state.  We had hoped that no political interest would tend to divide the sentiment of the people, to the people we must appeal for carrying out such a reform.  Respectfully submitted, C. B. Wicks, I. B. Allen, L. C. Paddock, Members, Board of Corrections.

Record Journal of Douglas County 9-22-1916
Pays $10,000 on Asylum Cottages – The state auditor's office issued a warrant for $10,000 to Avid Oleson, contractor, who is building new cottages at the State Asylum for the insane at Pueblo. This makes $112,000 Mr. Oleson has been paid on his contract calling for $134,000. The contract is nearly completed.

Plateau Voice Mesa County10-27-1916
Takes 56 Insane Men To Pueblo. Fifty-six insane men were taken from the County hospital in Denver to the insane asylum at Pueblo. This leaves only ten inmates, women, in the Denver institution. In ten days they will be taken to the Pueblo asylum.

Record Journal of Douglas County 10-13-1916
State Assumes Care of Insane – Wednesday the state began to take charge of the indigent insane patients now being provided for by the counties of the state, according to an announcement made by Governor Carlson.  This is made possible by the completion of the five new buildings in cottage style erected at the state insane asylum in Pueblo.  It is estimated that within a few weeks the state government will have assumed responsibility for more than 300 insane persons whose keeping has heretofore been borne by the counties.  

Summit County Journal 11-11-1916
Asylum Employee Blocks Fire – Pueblo. – Quick work on the part of Henry Jameson, houseman at the state insane asylum, probably saved that institution from a disastrous fire. The fire broke out in the “Farmers' Cottage,” the oldest building on the grounds. Jameson, a veteran of the city fire department, attached a line of hose to a hydrant and turned in on the blaze before much headway had been gained. He worked alone.

Weekly Ignacio Chieftain 4-20-1917
Fish and Game Law Signed – The amendments to the game and fish laws Other measures to become laws were those protecting the laborer against giving his time on false representations, and changing the name of the state insane asylum at Pueblo to the “Colorado State Hospital.”

Record Journal of Douglas County 1-31-1918
The public institution inspection committee of the Legislature visited the Colorado State Home for Mental Defectives at Ridge, Colo., and thoroughly investigated the request for a large appropriation to increase the facilities at the home.  Dr. A. C. Bussy, superintendent of the home, has asked the state Legislature for an appropriation of $400,000 for improvements and expenses for the coming biennial period.  Dr. Bussy said the capacity of the present institution was only eighty-two and that he had on file 315 applications for admittance.  In addition, he said, efforts were being made to transfer to the home 300 children now cared for at the insane asylum at Pueblo.

Haswell Herald 5-2-1918
Women unfortunates at the State Hospital for the insane at Pueblo are knitting and sewing for the Red Cross, according to Mrs. James Williams, president of the Colorado Board of Charities.

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