Pueblo County, Colorado
Insane Asylum Population


Colorado Daily Chieftain 10-30-1879 Eleven lunatics arrived in this city yesterday and went to the asylum. They came from the Oak Lawn Retreat, at Jacksonville, Illinois, where they have been supported at the expense of our state for some time past. Eight of the party are from Arapahoe county, two from Gilpin and one from Park. Mr. James Duggan, of Denver, with several assistants, took charge of them. There are no riotous cases among them. Nine of them are males and two females. One of the women is perfectly helpless.

Colorado Weekly Chieftain 12-11-1879 There are at present thirty patients at the insane asylum. The accommodations of the institution are tested to their full capacity.

Colorado Miner, Clear Creek Co. 12-31-1879 The insane asylum is already full, no more patients can be accommodated.


Pueblo Colorado Weekly Chieftain 1-8-1880 There are thirty-four patients in the asylum. Buena Vista Democrat 3-29-1880 – Colorado Condensed – The insane asylum at Pueblo is so crowded that fifteen patients are obliged to sleep on the floor.


Aspen Weekly Times 1-17-1885 On November 30, 1882, there were forty-nine patients at the asylum; since then 125 have been admitted, making a total of 177 treated in the two years ending November 30, 1884. Of this number 77 have been discharged, 53 having recovered, 1 improved, 3 escaped and 20 having died, leaving 97 at the asylum at the present time, being an increase of 48 since 1882. Rocky Mountain News 12-22-1885 – State Lunatic Asylum – Report of Superintendent Thombs to His Excellency, Governor Eaton – Colorado State Lunatic Asylum, Pueblo, Colo., Nov. 1, 1885 – To His Excellency, Hon. Benjamin H. Eaton, Governor of Colorado – Sir: – The following figures will show the number of patients remaining at the date of the last report, the number received and the number remaining at this date: At date of last report there remained ninety-seven patients, fifty-nine males and thirty-eight females. Since then there has been received ninety-five patients, seventy-four males and twenty-one females, making a total of 192 under treatment during the year. There have been discharged during the year seventy-seven, fifty-eight having recovered, as follows: Males forty-three, females fifteen, and nineteen having died – sixteen males and three females. This leaves in the asylum at present 115 patients, eighty-two being males and thirty-three females.

Fort Morgan Times 12-25-1885 During the past year there have been 192 persons under treatment in the State Insane Asylum. Of this number fifty-eight were discharged, forty-three recovered and nineteen died, leaving 115 inmates at the present time, eighty-two males and thirty-three females, and of this number a fair percentage promise recovery. The expenses of the asylum for the year was $32,376.98.


Fort Morgan Times 2-19-1886 There are now eighty male and forty female patients in the Pueblo insane asylum.


Rocky Mountain News 1-28-1887 – Bereft of Reason – The Legislative Committee Pay a Visit To the State Lunatic Asylum at Pueblo Yesterday – Pueblo, Jan. 27 – The legislative committee on state institutions… This morning at about 9 o'clock they visited the State Insane asylum, and were shown about the premises by Superintendent P. R. Thombs, General Supervisor T. J. Borroughs and G. W. Mundabaugh, the very pleasant and gentlemanly attendant of the convalescent ward. The committee were unusually well pleased with their inspection of the place… There are fifty-two women in the hospital and eighty-five men.


Buena Vista Democrat 1-5-1888 – Colorado Condensed – There were received at the Pueblo insane asylum during the year just closed 225 patients. There were discharged 108 and eighty-four recovered.


Central City Weekly Register-Call 1-11-1889 - The State Insane - The fifth biennial report of the commissioners and superintendent of the Colorado insane asylum has been issued.  From it is learned that the percentage of recoveries has been 64 70-100 (?), which is a very satisfactory showing.  The number of patients admitted during the past two years was 207, making the total treated during the term, 345; from this number 132 have been discharged and recovered, seven discharged as improved, six escaped, and twenty-eight died, leaving in the asylum 171 patients.  In regard to the incurables, Dr. Thombs says: "This institution (is) rapidly filling up with chronic insane.  These together with chronic epileptics, idiots and imbeciles who are entirely out of place here and a source of annoyance to the insane, will eventually destroy the object for which the asylum was originally intended, viz., the curability of insanity, unless some special provision is made for them or they are taken care of in the counties where they belong.  The needs of the institution are the completion and furnishing of the three male wards in the west wing at an estimated cost of $14,399; the completion of the new female wing, estimated cost $29,650, and the removal of the old building, now in a dilapidated condition.  The construction of a ditch to bring the land in condition for cultivation is also urged.  Of the occupation of the patients admitted eighteen were farmers, thirty were house-keepers, forty-two were laborers, twenty-four miners and eleven servants.  Among the causes of insanity in patients admitted there were forty-nine from intemperance, hereditary 10, paralysis 10, injury to head 7, spiritualism, Christian science 1.  Arapahoe county sent 41, Lake 12, Pueblo 16, Gilpin 9, the penitentiary 4, and the remaining number from most of the remaining counties.  In the sewing room nearly 3,000 pieces were made, such as sheets, pillow slips, men's shirts and wearing apparel generally.  From the farm and garden, vegetables, fruit, poultry and meat were obtained in good quantities.  The expenses for 1888 amounted to $36,992.18.  In all this report gives a favorable showing of beneficial results.

Fort Morgan Times 2-8-1889 There are 107 male and 40 patients in the Pueblo insane asylum at the present time. The institution is greatly overcrowded and an effort is being made to have the Legislature appropriate money for a new building.

Buena Vista Democrat 12-5-1889 – State News – There are 140 male and 73 female patients in the insane asylum at Pueblo.

Denver Evening Post 12-31-1899 - Dependent and Imprisoned - The annual report of the state board of charities and correction has been drawn up by Secretary C. L. Stonaker as follows: ... Insane asylum, committed, 193; discharged 67; died, 60; present, 490...


Buena Vista Democrat 1-9-1890 – State News – There are 217 patients in the insane asylum at Pueblo – 141 males and 76 females. There were admitted during the last year 111, of which number there were 80 males and 28 females, representing 282 persons under care during the year. From this number there were discharged as recovered 33 males and 18 females, making 51 discharged as recovered and two males as improved. The expenses of the asylum for the year ending November 30, 1889 amounted to $38,545.84.

Leadville Evening Chronicle 12-26-1890 There are at present confined in the asylum 274 patients, an increase of 103 for the year. It is a curious fact that out of the 274 patients, 166, or over half, are single.


Buena Vista Democrat 1-1-1891 – State Happenings – There are 270 patients in the Pueblo insane asylum at present.

Rocky Mountain Sun 8-22-1891 Colorado Briefs – The State Insane Asylum at Pueblo is full to overflowing, and now each county will have to make arrangements for keeping its own patients.


Aspen Union Era 1-7-1892 Superintendent P. R. Thombs, of the Colorado insane asylum at Pueblo, has filed his annual report for 1891 with Governor Routt. The number of inmates January 1, 1892, is 290, an increase of 16 over the number remaining on the same date the year preceding. The expense of sustaining the house for the year, the inmates probably averaging about 282, was $51,573.38. The per capita is about $183 per year.


Summit County Journal 1-12-1895 The total number of patients in the state insane asylum on November 1 was 361.

Denver Evening Post 12-20-1895 - Reformatory Report - ... The annual report of the State Insane asylum at Pueblo was also filed, showing 374 inmates at present, an increase of seven.  The cost of running the institution during the year was $51,510.59, or $159.12 per capita.

Rocky Mountain News 12-31-1895 - Institution Reports - The annual report of the state insane asylum was submitted to the governor yesterday.  The document shows that there were in the institution a year ago 366 inmates, 231 being males and 135 females.  During the year there were admitted 97 males and twenty-two females.  There were 485 patients treated and 101 were discharged, died or eloped.  The number discharged as cured was 42 and as improved 16; died, 36; eloped, 7.  The present population of the institution is 384, there being 248 males and 133 females.  The per capita cost per diem during the year was 43 cents and 6 mills, including repairs and improvements, or 40 cents with these items deducted.


Rocky Mountain News 7-17-1896 - Annual Report - ... Reports from the state institutions are as follows: Penitentiary - ... 5 sent to insane asylum...  Insane Asylum - Average of 389 patients, 512 received treatment, of whom 10 were former inmates readmitted; 54 discharged, 12 dismissed, 4 of whom were returned; 46 died during the year, making the death rate 1 in each 11 1/2 cared for, or 8 2-3 (8 2/3) per cent; those discharged, presumably as cured, amount to one in each 9 7-10 (9 7/10), or 10 1-3 (10 1/3) per cent.


Rocky Mountain News 1-27-1897 - Insane Asylum Trouble - The biennial report of the Colorado insane asylum to the governor for the years 1895-96 has just been issued by the asylum.  The report of the commissioners shows that at the time of making the report there were 422 inmates of the asylum...  The number of patients has increased during the two years from 360 to 422, and they have been handled by only one resident physician and eleven attendants...  Superintendent Thombs, in his report, goes into details regarding the conduct of the institution.  The following table shows the number of patients treated during the two years:  Detailed Report - Patients at date of last report - Men, 231; Women, 135; Total 366.  Admitted during the term - Men, 237; Women, 42; Total, 279.  Recovered - Men, 74; Women, 16; Total, 90.  Improved - Men, 22; Women, 9; Total, 31.  Deaths - Men, 78; Women, 13; Total, 91...  Of the patients now in the asylum, Arapahoe county sent 135, Pueblo 44, Boulder 25, Lake 23, Las Animas 16, El Paso 16, Fremont 12, Gilpin 11, Garfield 11, and the balance of the counties a less number...

Rocky Mountain News 3-6-1897 - Increase of the Insane - Secretary Olney yesterday received the February report from the state insane asylum at Pueblo.  It shows the population of the institution to be 287 males and 138 females.  Admitted during the month, 6 males; readmitted, 1 male; probationers returned, 1 male; discharged, 1 male; dismissed on trial, 1 male; died, 1 male; employes, 27.

Rocky Mountain News 4-4-1897 - State Institutions Report - The monthly report for March from the state insane asylum to the board of charities and corrections, shows the institution still crowded to the utmost capacity, there being 292 males and 138 females.

Denver Evening Post 5-5-1897 - Movement of Population - The April report of the Pueblo insane asylum shows a total population for the month of 436, 292 males and 138 females.  Eight males were admitted and 2 females.  Seven were discharged, 10 indentured and 4 died.  There are 28 employes in the institution.

Denver Evening Post 6-5-1897 - Movement of Population - The population of the insane asylum at the close of May was 295 males and 138 females, against 291 and 138 May 1.  New admissions were 11; readmitted 1 and returned 1.  Discharged 7, paroled 1 and dismissed 1.

Rocky Mountain News 7-29-1897 - Supplies For the Asylum - Pueblo, Colo., July 28 - ... During the quarter twenty-nine men and three women had been received, and twenty men and four women had been discharged and seven men had died, leaving a total of 430 patients in the asylum, 293 being men and 137 women.

Golden Colorado Transcript 8-4-1897 The superintendent's report showed that the total number of persons at present in the asylum was 430, of which 293 are men and 137 are women. The total number of persons received during the last quarter was 32, while 24 were discharged. Seven men died in the institution during the past three months.

Rocky Mountain News 12-28-1897 - State Insane Asylum Report - Over 500 Patients Cared for During the Years at Very Small Cost - The annual report of the state insane asylum at Pueblo was submitted to Governor Adams yesterday by the superintendent, P. R. Thomas.  For the year ending November 30 the expenses of the institution were $73,932.81, which was a cost of daily maintenance of each inmate of 43 cents.  The largest number cared for during the year was 450, and the average number cared for was 427.  Fifty inmates died during the year and six eloped.  The total number discharged, died and eloped was 131.  On November 30 there were 293 males and 138 females in the place.  Dr. Thomas reported that the greatest care and economy had been practiced during the year.  The best of food had been provided and all needed repairs made.  Appended to the report was a list of the farm products raised at the institution and used for food during the year.  The improvements and repairs have cost $989.53 over last year.


Denver Evening Post 8-14-1898 ...Within its walls are 448 patients.

Denver Evening Post 12-29-1898 - Insane Asylum Report - The biennial report of the state insane asylum trustees has reached the governor...  "The asylum's income from the one-fifth of a mill is less now than it was ten years ago, and the number of patients has increased more than 100 during these years.  Arapahoe county alone has forty-four insane patients that the state should care for.  There are now in the insane asylum 432 patients, of which 134 are women.  These are the sick members of society who are entirely unable to maintain themselves.  Some other insane patients are confined in jails, lock-ups and cared for privately who should be in the asylum...  Arapahoe county has fifty-six patients at the asylum; Boulder, fourteen; El Paso, fifteen; Lake, seventeen; Las Animas, ten; Pueblo, nineteen.  The other counties are less numerously represented..."


Denver Evening Post 1-25-1899 – Summed Up By Word “Nothing” – Insane Asylum Investigation Devoid of Results – Pueblo, Jan. 25 – After five days' investigation by the joint legislative investigating committee into the affairs of the state insane asylum, the state rested its case last night with the announcement of defeat. Addressing the members in summing up the evidence, Attorney General Campbell said: … More Statistical Matter Piled Into the Record - "Statistics of the Colorado State Insane Asylum from 1879 to the present time: "Recovered, 681 males; 273 females.  Total, 894.  Improved and discharged, 69 males; 25 females.  Total, 94.  Unimproved, discharged, 2 males.  Paroled, 12.  Paroled, unimproved, 1.  Eloped, 50 males, no females.  Died, 409 males; 104 females.  Total, 513.  Discharged, 1,220 males; 346 females.  Total, 1,566.   At present in the asylum, 299 males; 160 females.  Total, 459.  Total number received in asylum to date, 1,519 males; 506 females.  Total, 2,025." 

Denver Evening Post 11-6-1899 – Busey is a Success – His Record at the Insane Asylum Shows What Intelligent Management Can Do – The monthly reports of movement of population at the state insane asylum show a greatly improved condition of affairs under the new management. The policy of Dr. A. P. Busey, the present superintendent, is to discharge all patients immediately after a cure has been effected, and also the class that is incurable yet harmless and have friends to look after them. This system has opened up the way for an increased number of admissions every month, and it is hoped that in a short time the increased discharges will result in making room for the patients now in various county hospitals. The governor and the members of the board of charities and corrections express great satisfaction over Dr. Busey's way of doing things, and they freely predict that under his management there will be little or no cause for complaint about the operation of the institution in the future. The commitments during August, 1897, were 6, and in August, 1898, they were 9. In August of this year, the first month that Dr. Busey was in control, a total of 24 patients were admitted to the asylum. The September record for the three years is 7, 4 and 17, and the October 9, 21 and 14. Thus Dr. Busey has arranged for the admission of 55 persons since August 1, compared to 34 for the same three months of 1898, and 22 for August, September and October, 1897. A good showing was also made in the record of discharges. The new superintendent has turned out 22 patients during the last three months, compared to 14 during the corresponding period of 1898, and 11 in 1897. In October, 1898, there were 34 employes, and at present the number is 44. Dr. Busey was enabled to employ more attendants by cutting down expenses in places where there had been extravagance under Dr. Thombs. The average population of the asylum in October was 490 – 179 females and 310 males. In September the total was 502. In October, 1898, only 437 were accommodated. There were nine deaths and one escape during October.

Pagosa Springs News 11-17-1899 The monthly reports of Dr. A. P. Busey, the new insane asylum superintendent, show that 55 patients have been admitted since August 1st, compared with 34 for the same three months last year. This time last year there were 34 employees, but under Dr. Busey's management 10 have been added to this number. There are 490 inmates, 310 men and 179 women. During October 9 deaths and 1 escape occurred.

Wray Rattler – 11-18-1899 The monthly reports of Dr. A.P. Busey, the new insane asylum superintendent show that 55 patients have been admitted since August 1st, compared with 34 for the same three months last year. This time last year there were 34 employees, but under Dr. Busey's management to have been added tot his number. There are 400 inmates, 310 men and 179 women. During October 9 deaths and 1 escape occurred.

Denver Evening Post 12-3-1899 - Reports of State Institutions - Monthly reports showing the movement of population in four of  the state institutions during the month of November have been filed with the state board of charities.  The noteworthy figures were as follows: Insane Asylum - Total inmates, 506; male, 423; female, 182; admitted during the month, 15; died, 5; number of employes, 44...


Wray Rattler – 7-14-1900 In the State 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.


Summit County Journal 2-9-1901 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.

Wray Rattler – 8-10-1901 State Insane Asylum, Pueblo, male 320; female 184. Died, male three; female, two. Received, male six; female two.


Wray Gazette 8-26-1904 - Colorado News Items - The completion of the new wing of the State Insane Asylum at Pueblo will somewhat relieve the crowded condition 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.


Wray Gazette 6-23-1905 - 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.

Wray Gazette 11-24-1905 - State Capital Notes - O. S. Storms 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 over-crowded 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.


Wray Gazette 1-12-1906 - Insane Asylum - Denver - 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...  There are at 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...

Wray Rattler – 1-19-1906 There are at present in the institution at Pueblo 759 patients, of whom 277 are women and 482 men.


Yuma Pioneer 1-1-1915 - The 1,500 inmates of the Pueblo asylum had a dance and Christmas tree celebration.


Wray Rattler – 11-9-1916 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 ion the “Farmer's 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 it on the blaze before much headway had been gained. He worked alone.


Pueblo Chieftain 12-30-1917 - Improvements Made at State Insane Asylum - ... The total number of patients at present being cared for at the local institution is 1,646 of which number 464 were admitted during the fiscal year ending Dec. 1, 1917...


Pueblo Indicator 1-11-1941 - Great State Institution - The Colorado State hospital at Pueblo has grown from 38 patients in 1880 to 4,484 today and with the increase had come the biennial problem for the legislature to provide funds for hospital operation...  In 1930 there were 2,944 patients and 330 employes requiring $50,000 a month for maintenance.  There are now 4,485 patients and 839 employes and the maintenance is running about $100,000 a month...  Growth of the hospital as of Nov. 30 for these years: 1880: 27 males, 11 females, 38 total; 1890: 183 males, 91 females, 274 total; 1900: 320 males, 186 females, 506 total; 1910: 676 males, 455 females; 1,131 total; 1920: 1,144 males, 866 females, 2,010 total; 1930: 1,596 males, 1,348 females, 2,944 total; 1940: 2,397 males, 2,088 females, 4,485 total


10-5-1946 State Hospital Cases Increase – Information given out by Dr. F.H. Zimmerman of the Colorado State Hospital at Pueblo, 679 persons have been admitted since Jan 1. The hospital population is now 4,523, the highest in all time. Overcrowding is getting worse and 800 beds are needed to meet the requirements. Skilled personnel help is needed, he says, and that more building should be done.

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