Sure, this blog is about the Anoka Asylum, also known as the Anoka State Hospital, but when one of the most beautiful Kirkbride Asylums in the state is in danger if demolition... I feel like a post about it is warranted.
The Fergus Falls State Hospital has the honor of being one of the two remaining Kirkbride buildings in Minnesota. The other, in St. Peter, is still occupied as a mental health facility. There was a third, in Rochester, that was demolished in the 1980's. I think the building in Fergus Falls is the most attractive of the three, I may be biased, but I'd go as far as to call it the most attractive in the nation. (Hey, if you don't believe me, click here!)
Of course, finding someone to purchase and restore a building like this is no small undertaking. Coming up with reuse options for 606,911 square feet of building isn't easy. Take a minute to let that sink in, 606,911 square feet. Some of the space has been renovated and is in great condition, some isn't. Many ideas have been proposed, all seem to fall through in the end at which point the demolition talks spark up again.
Iowa has done a wonderful job of restoring and reusing three of their Kirkbride buildings (Cherokee, Clarinda and Independence.) They are able to look past what these buildings were used for, and see what they can be used for. Minnesota should take notice.
So, if you have $1, a vision and a little ambition, the Fergus Falls State Hospital could be yours!
$1 Historic Fergus Falls State Hospital (Fergus Falls)
Date: 2010-08-30, 3:34PM CDT
Reply to: email@example.com
The City of Fergus Falls has the Kirkbride design State Hospital in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, available for sale. There are approximately 606,911 square feet of buildings, which are currently slated for demolition, and 36.66 acres of land. The sale price is required to be at fair market value, which according to the last appraisal, is $1.00. A plan for development and proof of private development capital is also required. The City of Fergus Falls will work with the chosen developer to obtain any available certifications, credits, and grants to supplement private investments.
The historic site is the last complete example of a campus design once represented by over forty buildings worldwide. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. Interestingly, it has been considered for a college, for several movies locations, for an entertainment complex, for a mixed residential/commercial use project, for a seminary, for a prison, for a residential ownership complex for returning snowbirds, for an emergency housing center for disaster response, and as a resort/hotel. It stimulates the imagination by its size, form and presentation.
Located in Otter Tail County, with its 1,000 lakes, the Kirkbride design Fergus Falls State Hospital is five minutes from everywhere in historic Fergus Falls, five minutes from the intersection of Interstate I-94 and Minnesota State Highway No. 210, 66 miles from the Fargo/Moorhead SMA and its international airport, 114 miles from the St. Cloud MSA, 176 miles from Minneapolis/St Paul MSA, 21 miles from Glendalough State Park and 25 miles from Maplewood State Park.
The Fergus Falls community is on the Otter Tail Byway, the Central Lakes Trail, and the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail (which connects to Manitoba’s Pine to Prairie Birding Trail). The buildings, showing their Renaissance and Gothic influence, visually dominate a hill and the community, with three landmark towers. The site is a park-like setting, neighbored on the west by Otter Tail Government Services, on the north by a future planned residential community, on the east by both a historic grouping of buildings planned for a business complex, and an existing Minnesota Veterans Home facility, and on the south by the majority of the City of Fergus Falls.
The City of Fergus Falls has some development funds that can be tasked to the redevelopment of the property, and would like to speak to any interested developer.
To facilitate such a discussion, please contact Gordon Hydukovich at (218) 332-5427 or firstname.lastname@example.org by November 15, 2010.
Now, if you have read this post all the way to here you must be interested or want to know more, right? Why not join the Friends of the Kirkbride group on Facebook and let them know that you're behind their cause! They even offer tours, you can bet I will be doing that very soon.