OPERATION TIME: 1898 to present
KIRKBRIDE PLAN: No
Over the years, Anoka State Hospital has gone by many names – First State Asylum for the Insane, Anoka State Asylum, and most recently Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center (its current name). Built in 1898, it opened two years later in 1900, where it would serve as a patient-transfer hospital for the next fifty years.
Anoka’s patient population was made up of transfers from overcrowded asylums looking to downgrade the population. The first 100 patients to be sent to Anoka State Hospital were males from St. Peter State Hospital, each of them called “chronic incurables” by the psychiatrists who treated them.
Six years later, a total of 115 female patients were added into the asylum. In 1909, the Minnesota government decided that Anoka State Hospital would be used for female transfer patients only, and that all of the males would be sent to the other state hospital in Hastings.
In 1925, the asylum received another wing that would allow male patients to be accepted once more.The hospital was renamed the Anoka State Asylum in 1919.
Eventually, in 1937, the hospital was renamed Anoka State Hospital to sound less aggressive. The hospital allowed new patients admit to the hospital in 1951. However, the hospital was not without its flaws. Patients suffered both physical and mental mistreatment and medical experimentation.
Neglect and intentional cruelty were not unheard of at the hospital either. Patients looking for a way out of the asylum would escape into the tunnels located below the buildings. Those who couldn’t find a way out would hang themselves on the heavy pipes that were on the ceiling of the catacombs.
Paranormal occurrences include strange noises, whispers, laughter, and talking in the tunnels. Footsteps and cold spots are also commonplace. The tunnels are now only accessible to maintenance and security. Now named the Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center, the hospital continues to admit patients.
- Anoka County Halloween. “Anoka State Hospital,” www.AnokaCountyHalloween.com
- Forgotten USA. “Anoka State Hospital,” www.ForgottenUSA.com