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Early History of the Alton State Hospital

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser




Alton State Hospital, Alton, IllinoisIn September 1912, the State Board of Administration, along with the State Architect, W. Carbys Zimmerman, visited Upper Alton in preparation of choosing where to build the new hospital for the insane, to relieve overcrowding in various other hospitals. In 1913, Senator Edmond Beall (Alton resident) introduced a bill in the Legislature appropriating $500,000 to start work on the hospital. By July 1913, land was purchased from William Cartwright, Edward Rodgers, Colonel Andrew F. Rodgers, and Harriett Kirkpatrick. This land purchase included the farmhouses and buildings that were already existing. Frank Dinges was appointed the hospital site manager. In 1914, problems and conflicts arose between some Chicago politicians who wanted the hospital to be built near Chicago. There were difficulties with utilities, roadways, and transportation to the hospital that Alton officials claimed they were unaware of. These issues were eventually resolved, and by March of 1914 cattle and other livestock began arriving to the site. By 1915 work began on the hospital, and although not yet officially opened, there were small numbers of patients housed on the grounds in the vacated farm houses. By October, five hospital buildings were completed, although not yet fully utilized.

By October of 1916, underground concrete tunnels had been completed under the hospital site, running over the entire building site and connected various buildings. The tunnels were high enough for a man to walk in, and all electrical wiring were housed in them. The tunnels required six thousand barrels of cement. Also that same year, the "monster" smokestack for the powerhouse was completed, 225 ft high and 19 ft in diameter.

By July of 1917 the hospital was ready for occupancy and patients were brought in from other hospitals (the official grand opening was held in the Fall of 1917). Dr. George A. Zeller, previously from the Peoria Insane Hospital, became the new superintendent of Alton State Hospital. Dr. Zeller was a pioneer in mental health, and was credited with starting the movement which resulted in occupational therapy as a treatment for insanity. He was a believer in the "non-restraint" policy, which meant patients were free to roam as they pleased - no locks on the doors or bars on the windows. This policy soon troubled neighboring farmers, as the patients would wander to their farms, frightening the women and sometimes causing havoc. In 1922, hospital patients were blamed for the burning of the Culp School.

The Alton State Hospital became known for its beautiful grounds. Some patients were allowed to farm and care for the animals, which included a large herd of dairy cattle, and tend to a well-stocked pond, apple orchard, and tobacco crops. One patient grew peanuts and sold them in Upper Alton. In 1918 the hospital cemetery was created to bury those who were unknown or unclaimed. Later, the hospital was used to house shell-shocked soldiers coming home from battle in World War I.

In 1921, Dr. Zeller resigned his position at the hospital and returned to the Peoria State Hospital, where he found overall neglect. He checked himself into the hospital as an inmate for three days, living on a different ward every night. So profound was his experience that he ordered all staff to serve an 8-hour shift as an inmate. He stepped down as hospital administration in 1935, and died June 29, 1938.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 30, 1938
Peoria, June 30, (AP) - Dr. George Anthony Zeller, 79, superintendent emeritus of the Peoria State Hospital for the insane, died suddenly Wednesday of pulmonary infection. Dr. Zeller opened the state hospital here 37 years ago, and was a pioneer in revolutionizing treatment of insane persons. He said they were "not criminals, they were sick." He ordered the iron bars taken from the windows and instituted the system of cottages, now widely used. Dr. Zeller died in an apartment at the hospital where he had lived for many years. He retired a few years ago because of age.

The death of Dr. George Anthony Zeller at Peoria removed one of the greatest alienists in the country. Dr. Zeller had taken a distinguished part in the improvement of the care of the insane. He was a member of the state board of administration when the Alton State Hospital was built, and he sought appointment as managing officer of the hospital. When he took the post of the first managing officer, Dr. Zeller inaugurated some startling reforms. He had the theory that there should be no restraint upon insane patients. They had no locks on the doors that would lock the patients in the Alton hospital, though outsiders would have difficulty getting in. The theory of non-restraint was along the right line, though it was found impractical to pursue the theory without variation or exception. Dr. Zeller also established the use of occupational therapy in the state hospitals. He introduced modern treatments for insane which had been found successful elsewhere and had yielded good returns in restoring to sanity the patients. After long service in the Alton hospital, Dr. Zeller was transferred to the Peoria hospital, and a few years ago he became superintendent emeritus, continuing to live in the hospital and giving the benefit of his knowledge and experience. His wife died a year ago.


As an interesting note, in September of 2005, 150 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina were housed at the Alton State Hospital. Today, the Alton Mental Health Center occupies the former Alton State Hospital.




Source: Alton Telegraph, September 12, 1912
The State Board of Administration came to Alton Wednesday to make their final inspection of sites offered for the new insane hospital to be erected by the State of Illinois here. The members of the Board, consisting of Lawrence Y. Sherman, Frank D. Whipp, Dr. Frank Norbury, Judge B. R. Burroughs, and Thomas O'Connor, were accompanied by the state architect, W. Carbys Zimmerman of Chicago, whom is charged with the responsibility of preparing plans for the hospital, and by Thomas Downes, the supervising engineer. The board of administration went over both sites this morning, and again this afternoon. They made a good survey of the property on their morning tour, and then decided to make a closer inspection of the Rodgers and the Bowman sites this afternoon. They were accompanied by Senator Beall, Eben Rodgers, H. J. Bowman Jr., J. M. Pfeiffenberger, and Fred Zimmerman, who went in automobiles with them. It was stated by members of the Board of Administration this afternoon before they started for their afternoon trip, that they were not sure that they would reach any decision as to the site today. According to the state architect, Mr. Zimmerman, the new hospital will be the finest in the world, and will embody new ideas which have never been applied in this country. Mr. Zimmerman, who is a prominent Chicago architect and a student, has been working for eight years as a state architect to bring about reforms in insane hospitals. He has ideas that he believes should be applied, the ruling feature of which is this, that places where insane people are confined should have as little appearance as possible of being places of confinement. Mr. Zimmerman, who has traveled abroad and inspected hospitals in Europe, to ascertain the best plans for such institutions, said that there is one bad feature of all such institutions, that is, the appearance of restraint, which has a bad influence on those who are confined there. While there must be restraint for insane people, there should be no appearance of it, and the walls which really do restrain them should be so disguised as to remove the mental effect that would be produced by confining influences. Mr. Zimmerman plans to do away with all such objections in the new hospital. He says that the mental effect on the patients will be the same as if they had perfect freedom, yet they will be closely held at such times when they are not to be given freedom of the grounds. In Italy, he found, the old Catholic cloisters were built around a courtyard, and he adopted this plan for the insane hospital. The buildings that will house the inmates will be built around a series of courtyards, which will be separated from each other by concrete walls inclosing pergolas built around beautiful gardens and lawns, and the walls will be covered with vines. In these courts the patients may walk or recline when the weather is fair and suitable. The pergola walls will connect all parts of the institution so that patients may walk inside them and not get out in making their trips from one part of the building to the other. On the front and back and the sides of the series of buildings which will constitute the hospital, will be lawns and fields where the patients may walk at times when accompanied by attendants. It will not be necessary for them to have any attendants with them when patients are in the enclosed gardens of the courtyard, as they cannot get out. The buildings will be made of brick or concrete, the material to be decided upon when the bids are received. Mr. Zimmerman says that the new hospital buildings will cover an area 2,100x600 feet. The buildings will be set well back from the road in front. Fire proof structural material will be used throughout. There will never be any addition made to this hospital, according to the plans. It will house about 1,500 patients.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 2, 1913
The Illinois Board of Administration today voted unanimously to accept the site known as the Rodgers tract, east of Upper Alton, for the new insane hospital. This means that a tract of 1,140 acres of land will be bought for an average price of $189.54 an acre. The decision was reached after long investigation and much hard work on the part of the members of the Board of Administration and the Alton Board of Trade. Alton people have been much worried of late because of the shortness of the time, and the fact that there remained much information to be obtained before members of the Board of Administration would vote to take either the Rodgers tract or the Bowman tract. A few days ago, as told by the Telegraph, the Bowman site was withdrawn by the Bowman family, to cut short any further delay and to insure that the good natured rivalry would not prove fatal to the chances of the city of Alton in consummating the sale of the site. With the site purchased, the Legislature could hardly ____ to make the remaining appropriations, which would be necessary to erect the hospital. The original tract upon which options were offered consisted of 1,013 acres. To this, the Board of Administration insisted a tract of 127.49 acres must be added. It belongs to Mrs. H. E. Kirkpatrick, who refused to give an option until recently, and it is said, the price she asked is higher than asked by some of the others. The high average price per acre of the Rodgers tract includes the value of some very fine buildings and other improvements. It was said today that unless a lower price than that fixed for the Kirkpatrick tract could be secured, other land would be purchased ....[unreadable] ...The Rodgers site is an idea place for an insane hospital. The land is rich, there are orchards of young trees on the place, and the place is near enough to Alton for the fire department to render aid in case of emergency. The selection of the Rodgers site by the Board of Administration today cinches for Alton the hospital. The abstracts are all in good shape, and when passed upon by the Attorney General will be ready for the transfer of the property.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 6, 1913
The members of the Board of Administration, who came here Saturday to close the deal for the purchase of the land for the insane hospital site, completed their work and departed last Saturday night, taking with them signed contracts to sell their lands as follows: Edward Rodgers, 250 acres; Col. A. F. Rodgers, 185 acres; Mrs. H. E. Kirkpatrick, 145 acres; John Cartwright, 130 acres; Henry Cartwright, 140 acres; William Cartwright, 200 acres. The average price paid per acre is $194.50. The total amount of land bought is 1,050 acres, and the price that will be paid is $204,000. The deal hinged upon the willingness of Mrs. Kirkpatrick to accept less than she was asking. She was demanding $33,000, and finally agreed to take $28,000 for her tract. It was stated by members of the Board of Administration that as soon as the Attorney General approves the abstracts of title, that the warrants for the land will be issued to the owners who sold. Some land belonging to the Edsall's was not bought. It was originally in the tract proposed for sale, but owing to the fact that it was necessary to buy all of the land of Col. A. F. Rodgers, as he did not wish to have his place cut up, it was decided to omit the Edsall land.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 18, 1913
Senator Beall today introduced in the Legislature a bill for $500,000, appropriating that sum to start work on the insane hospital at Alton. Senator Beall said that this, with the $300,000 left after the site of the hospital is paid for, will give $800,000 to pay for erecting the necessary buildings, and that this amount will be increased as there is need for it. Senator Beall said also that Attorney H. S. Baker will go to Springfield some day this week to take up the deeds and abstracts of titles, and give his written opinion that the site titles are correct and good.


Source: April 10, 1913
Word was received today from Judge B. R. Burroughs that he would be here tomorrow with checks from the state for $203,000, which will be distributed among six owners of land sold to the state as a site for the new insane hospital. This will close the transaction of the sale of the land.


Source: April 23, 1913
A committee consisting of the State architect, some members of the State Board of Administration, the chairmen of the appropriations committees of the Senate and House, and some other State officers, will be here Monday morning to make a tour of the ground recently bought by the State of Illinois for a site for an insane hospital. Senator Beall says that it is not definitely known who will be included in the party. It will be at that time the exact location of the buildings will be decided upon, and the ground will be staked off. The land owners who sold to the State may then find out what ground will be available to them for farming purposes if they desire to continue on the property this season, until the State is ready to make use of the property.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 8, 1913
D. A. Wyckoff, custodian for the State in the tract bought for a new insane hospital, returned from Springfield yesterday where he attended a meeting of the State Board of Administration. Mr. Wyckoff is, in consequence of his trip to Springfield, informing the tenants on the 1,100 acres that they will be given a lease on the ground for another year, and maybe they can stay two years on their farms if they desire. The reason for the decision being made public is that some of the tenants on the farms have been desirous of knowing when they would have to move, and some of them have been making a move toward leaving the places and getting other homes, as they feared they might be unceremoniously ordered off their places. However, it has developed that the State Board of Administration is not at all near ready to start construction work on the insane hospital buildings. The plans are not started, it is said, and will not be started until the topographical survey and map are completed and then the plans will be adjusted to the ground on which it stands. By that time another State architect may come into office with different ideas and there may be another delay. The men who are tenants on the hospital tract are not yet informed just what they are to be charged. They are expecting a demand of one-third of the crop on cultivated land, and about $5 an acre for pasture land.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 30, 1913
The deeds conveying the tracts of land for the insane hospital site east of Upper Alton have been recorded at Edwardsville, which completes the transaction for the purchase of the land. The records of the County Recorder, John Berner, show the following transfers: William H. Cartwright and wife to State of Illinois, pt survey 714, claim 756 and other land, $35,000. J. R. Cartwright and wife to State of Illinois, 128.45 in sections 9, 5, 9, $21,000. H. M. Cartwright and wife, Charity Cartwright, to State of Illinois, pt. se 1-4 sec. 4, 5, 9, $28,000. Edward Rodgers and wife to State of Illinois, tract in se 1-4, sec. 5, 5, 9, and other land, $61,000. Andrew F. Rodgers and wife to State of Illinois, sw 1-4 sec. 3 and pt. se 1-4 sec. 4, 5, 9, $30,000. Harriett E. Kirkpatrick to State of Illinois, sw fr's 1-4, sec. 4, 5, 9 and other land, $28,000.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 6, 1913
The State Board of Administration yesterday announced the appointment of Frank R. Dinges to the position of managing officer of the property of the Alton State Hospital. Mr. Dinges will hold this place pending the appointment of a permanent medical superintendents, after the new hospital has been built. He will have the custodianship of approximately 1,100 acres of land and other State property needed in the building of the new $1,500,000 institution. D. A. Wyckoff of Alton has had charge of the property for some time.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 7, 1913
Managing Officer Frank R. Dinges, of the property of the insane hospital grounds, was in Alton today making arrangements to move his family from Belleville to the Rodgers homestead on the hsopital site. Dinges will give up his entire time to looking after the state property. He spent today on the property making himself acquainted with the farmers, and will go to Springfield this evening to make a report to the state officials. Dinges said today that he did not think any of the land on the site would be leased to the farmers for more than a year, but he was not certain. In case some of the land is leased, and it later becomes necessary to build on it, the farmers are to be repaid for their trouble. Dinges is pleased with the hospital site and Alton in general, and says he is glad to move his family to Alton where he can be near his work and keep the former owners of the land posted as to what is to be done.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 22, 1913
The State Board of Administration has been unable to get possession of the residence that was sold with his tract to the state of Illinois by Edward Rodgers. Demand for the house has been made by Frank R. Dinges, who was appointed superintendent of the hospital site property, and the demand was refused. Mr. Rodgers claims that the state owes him additional money for various improvements he made and for some equipment in the house, and belonging to the place. He refuses to leave his old homestead unless the state settles his claim. Among these items he is claiming, he demands compensation for spraying and trimming the orchard trees, also he asks pay for the wires carrying the electricity to his place. The Board of Administration has refused to allow the claims Mr. Rodgers has made, and insists that possession be given to Mr. Dinges who is desired by the Board of Administration to enter upon the place and take possession for the State of Illinois. Mr. Rodgers also demands that the state allow him to keep the crops grown on the place this year. This has been a point of contention for some time. Shortly after the money was paid for the site and Judge B. R. Burroughs came here to negotiate with the former owners about the title to the crops, the demand was made by Mr. Rodgers that the crops be given to the former owners. Judge Burroughs' position was that the former owners could not claim benefit of the law relating to tenants on a farm, as the owners who had sold the land had voluntarily sold it, and they were the occupants themselves and the state had paid a good price for the land, so that the former owners must give possession and the state owned everything growing on the places. The state, however, gave permission for the former owners to remain indefinitely, and was willing to share the crops with them. Mr. Rodgers has stuck to his original contention that the former owners are entitled to take off all the crops and is standing pat, refusing to vacate the place.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 23, 1913
Edward Rodgers, who has been having a controversy with representatives of the State Board of Administration over the possession of his old home, today agreed to move next week off the place, and will surrender his old home to the representatives of the state. Mr. Rodgers claims a verbal agreement was made whereby he was led to believe he would be allowed to remain this year on the place. However, the state's representative chose the Rodgers' house as the one in which he desired to live, and Mr. Rodgers' plans for spending the summer there were shattered. He was engaged today in packing up his possessions and will be out of the mansion within a few days.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 31, 1914
It is singular that, if there has been so much trouble arranging the details of getting started on the new insane hospital at Alton, there has not been a single word of the trouble to get out until Chairman Kern of the State Board of Administration makes announcement of it in Chicago. From the viewpoint of a Chicago man, possibly it was too bad, as Governor Dunne said, that the site was not selected further north, nearer Chicago. Inspired communication in the Edwardsville Intelligencer, owned by Charles Boeschenstein, the Democratic National Committeeman, says: "The progress of the Board has been so unsatisfactory, that the members are not in a very cheerful mood over the situation. Governor Dunne expressed his views as to the selection of the site shortly after his election. He held that the institution should have been located in some county further north. Within the past two weeks he has suggested that if satisfactory arrangements cannot be made speedily for the things that have stood in the way of going on with the work of construction, the site purchased by the state at Alton should be sold and a location be secured elsewhere." If there was any difficulties which the Board of Administration was having, why did not they inform the people of Alton and let the Alton Board of Trade, which had previously rendered valuable help, know of the difficulties? Further, the Intelligencer said in its inspired communication: "Some delay was experienced when the negotiations for the sale were about to be closed. Considerable time was spent in perfecting the deeds, and in doing this it is claimed other important terms which were believed to have been settled were left open, and these are now causing the trouble. The board of trade and citizens, members of the Board of Administration say, made the usual promises of transportation both steam and electric, and agreed that satisfactory terms would be made for water and electricity. While absorbed in getting the titles to the land, the other requirements, it is claimed, were not put in writing, and the representatives were merely verbal and informal as is frequently the case when enthusiastic citizens tell commissioners of a proposed enterprise what their city will do. Having purchased a site, the state has since been engaged in straightening out differences on various matters just as important, and in the long run involving a far greater expenditure of money than the purchase of the land. It might have been thought by just plain people that the steam roads would be glad to connect with the property by reason of the large amount of material, etc., to be hauled. Not so, however. The Chicago & Alton railroad wanted something like $17,000 to lay a switch from their main line nearby. At length, the board induced the Burlington, which is less available, to contract to build a switch for $7,000. The necessary electric transportation has not been arranged. The county board granted a right of way for an extension of the present Upper Alton line to the hospital site. The line would cross the steam roads. These refuse to permit the electric company to go over the track on grade, insisting that the electric road be required to cross on an overhead bridge. The railroad and warehouse commission ordered this to be done. The electric road declared that the expense of a viaduct is so great that the company cannot afford it. The matter will go before the new Utilities Commission, and if the ruling of the old railroad and warehouse commission is upheld, no grade crossing will be permitted. It is admitted by both sides that an overhead bridge is really what should be provided, but it will cost a good deal of money. The question is who is to build it, the railroads will not, and the state cannot. The terms for water and electricity are in an unsettled condition, and the figures asked, members of the commission say, are much higher than they are in other cities where state institutions are located. The sewerage also is sure to cause trouble. The institution will have to discharge into Wood River, and this they say will probably lead to litigation. Fred. J. Kern, president of the Board of Administration, brought the facts to the attention of Charles Boeschenstein, Tuesday, and asked him to lend his aid to get matters adjusted. He thought no time should be lost to settle the differences, so that the question of location cannot be brought up again and this institution stay in Madison County. Thomas O'Connor, who was a member of the old board and is a member of the new, said the state was in possession of a beautiful tract of land, but is not able to avail itself of the opportunities the tract should present." Judging from the fact that the whole matter was kept a close secret from Alton people, it appears very much as though there was a plan to deprive Alton of the insane hospital without giving Alton a chance to defend her rights to what was awarded. It may be said that the old Board of Administration understood all these matters which are now causing such difficulty, and they believed that everything was all right.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 4, 1914
A car load of twenty-five heifers, some yearlings and some two years old, were received today in Alton via the C., B. & Q. for the new state insane hospital at Upper Alton. This is another indication that the state means business in regard to fixing the location of the state insane hospital in Alton. The heifers were shipped from Quincy, having come from the Old Soldiers' and Sailors' Home in Quincy. They were unloaded at Alton in charge of the supervisor of the grounds, and were driven to Upper Alton to the hospital farm.


BIG BULL SHIPPED IN CRATE TO ALTON STATE HOSPITALCattle, Alton State Hospital, Alton, Illinois
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 17, 1914
That the State of Illinois won't often choose the express routes for shipping bulls hereafter, is the earnest wish of the Big Four railroad operating department, as a result of a half hour delay of two trains this morning while the big animal was being transferred. He caused trouble first to the crew of train No. 5 coming in to East Alton, and he caused more trouble to the crew of the Flyer coming out of East Alton. He disorganized railroad time cards and he ruined the temper and the nervous systems of the men who were handling him. Two thousand pounds of meanness was handled by the American Express Co. at Alton this morning, when they received a Holstein bull weighing exactly one ton for the Alton State Insane Hospital. The bull was shipped from the State hospital at Elgin, Ill., crated and was one of the largest packages of livestock that the Alton office has ever had to handle. It was necessary to send two extra men to East Alton on the Big Four railroad to transfer the bull from one car to another, and over fifteen minutes was consumed this morning in getting the bull from the car to a truck after he had arrived at the Union Station. Superintendent Dingas of the hospital was informed of the arrival of the bull, and he took it to its new home in a large wagon this afternoon. The Big Four Flyer was delayed a half hour making transfer. The large animal did not fancy the trip to any extent, and several times it threatened to give the men handling it trouble.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 29, 1914
Today twenty cars of fish arrived in Alton to be placed in the new pond at the site of the insane hospital, east of Upper Alton. The pond was built last fall and filled with water then. The work done on the dam must have been of excellent character, as the pond has held the water and there is now a large body of water behind the dam. Although the drouth has reduced the amount of water in the pond, still there is sufficient water to warrant its use for stocking it with game fish, and by the time the hospital is built it is expected the fish will be large enough to afford amusement for some of the inmates of the hospital, who may be in an improved state of mind. The pond will not be for public use.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 30, 1914
The members of the State Board of Administration, accompanied by State Architect, James B. Dibelka, State Engineer Martin Schwaab, and Superintendent of Construction C. J. Sutter, arrived in Alton this morning to inspect the work on the new insane hospital. It is likely that a number of minor changes will be made in the location of some of the buildings before the Board of Administration leaves the city. After a careful inspection of the grounds, and the farm buildings today, the board will decide just how long before they will move some two hundred inmates of Kankakee hospital to Alton. The tenants on the Rodgers farm have been notified to leave tomorrow. The buildings the state bought with the land were inspected by the party today, with the view of deciding what improvements would have to be made to handle the two hundred patients. It is expected that some patients from Kankakee will be moved to Alton in two months, and it may be that they will take up quarters here at a much earlier date. The patients who will be brought here, it is said, to be kept in the farm colony, are those who are in advanced stage of convalescence, and can be trusted to go about the place without being constantly attended.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 13, 1915
While in Alton during the past few days, Dr. Zeller of Peoria, one of the members of the State Board of Administration, announced that plans were under way to bring still more of the paroled insane patients to Alton. The other state hospitals over the state keep crowding to such an extent that any relief which can be obtained will be welcomed. When the first forty patients were brought to Alton it gave some relief to the institution at Anna, but the patients have been coming in rapidly there, and the institution is still crowded. It will be impossible to handle any more patients at the old Rodgers home, but the plan is to improve the Cartwright home, which is on the property owned by the state, so that about fifteen more patients can be placed there. It is more than likely that this will be done in the near future. As soon as it is completed the new patients will be sent to the Alton farm.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 26, 1915
The contracting firm which is building the new state hospital east of Alton has about 120 men at work on the grounds. Work is being pushed with all possible speed. The nurse's home is ready for the roof and the building for the untidy patients also is ready to be roofed. On the administration stones the coping stones for the walls are being set. The other building is being pushed fast, too. According to a statement given to a reporter for the Telegraph this afternoon by State Architect C. J. Sutter, who is here, all of the building under construction at the Alton State Hospital will have been completed by the first day of July 1915, with favorable weather conditions. The buildings now under construction will cost the state one quarter of a million dollars, and include the administration building, the nurses home, two infirmatories, and one hospital cottage. Mr. Sutter visited the Alton hospital today and said that he was well pleased with the progress that the contractors had made in the past two weeks since his last visit here. Enough money has been appropriated up to the present time by the state to finish the powerhouse. Bids for the boiler were opened at Springfield several days ago which means that the contract for the powerhouse will be awarded in the near future. Mr. Sutter said today that the present session of the legislature would be asked for an appropriation of $1,000,000 to be used in the construction of new buildings at the Alton site. If this amount is granted it is likely that the Alton institution will be ready to house the patients next winter.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 11, 1915
Dr. H. Seiwell, who is in charge of the Alton Insane Hospital, said today that it would be impossible for any of the dope fiends in this part of the state to receive treatment at his institution. He said that he knew Governor Dunne had issued a proclamation which stated that treatment could be had at any of the state institutions. "But," said Dr. Seiwell, "the Alton hospital is not equipped at the present time to handle any such case. To date, no one has applied to us for help, but if they do the best, we can do will be to hold them until such time as they can be sent to other institutions over the state." While it is said by Alton physicians and druggists that there are a large number of dope fiends over the city who are suffering as the result of the dope being taken away from them, only one has applied to the St. Joseph's hospital in Alton for relief to date. He is still too weak to take any sort of treatment, and is said to be in a very serious condition.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 13, 1915
The Alton State Hospital is to be put on its own footing by Rev. S. D. McKenny. It will no longer be known in the state records as a branch of the Anna Institution. Rev. S. D. McKenny, acting in his state official capacity, went to the institution this afternoon and made a record of the names of all the patients that have been brought here from Anna. These will be forwarded to Fred Huber of the Anna Institution, who will take the names off the Anna books and forward all records concerning them and their estates to Alton. Many of the inmates of the Alton Insane Hospital own small estates and have conservators who turn the money from these estates over to the State so that the patients are not at the institutions as a matter of charity. Before this time, all of such money was turned over to the Anna Institution, but now it will be put to the credit of the Alton State Hospital. The records of all the patients and their affairs will be turned over to the Alton institution as soon as possible, and they will be kept by Dr. H. Seiwell, who is in charge of the Alton Hospital. While the Alton State Hospital has been opened for several months past, it has been known to the state officials as a branch of the Anna State Hospital, and all of the records have been this way. As soon as the working of checking up the Alton patients and moving their records to Alton has been completed, the Alton institution will be placed on an independent footing.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 29, 1915
About $150 worth of damage was done to a pile of window frames at the hospital site Saturday evening when a grass fire starting from a trash fire spread to the pile of window frames which are ready to be placed in the insane hospital building. Only a few men were at the grounds when the fire started.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 7, 1915
The work on the asylum buildings is progressing nicely with about 150 workmen handling the work. The cottages are now most completed and the marble and tile workers are on the job putting in this last work. Work on the big dairy barns and the silos will be started by Contractor Wardein soon, and by the time the snow flies there will be quite a finished look to the group of buildings at the asylum site. General Supervisor U. S. Nixon is using the greatest care in all of the various departments of work as the specifications trim some things pretty close and fix that the work shall be the very best.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 6, 1915
Two patients at the state hospital east of Alton failed to return to the institution Sunday evening at 8 o'clock, when it was time for the curfew. It was stated at the hospital that the men were paroled patients and that they were harmless. They had merely strayed off, and it was expected they would return of their own accord. Patients at the hospital are given considerable liberty, as all of them are in an advanced stage of convalescence. The liberty is believed to be good for them and hastens their recovery.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 15, 1915
Over 4,200 bushels of apples will be shipped from the Alton State Hospital site to the other state institutions this year. To date, over 1,700 bushels have been shipped, and there are another 2,500 bushels ready to be sent as soon as the state can see fit to place them. All of the work of caring for the trees and picking the apples has been done by the inmates of the institution. Besides this, they have kept 225 acres of the farm under cultivation and raised 1,640 bushels of oats and filled the site with 150 tons of feed for the 160 head of cattle which are to be wintered there. Manager Dinges of the State Hospital said this morning that more of the farm would be put under cultivation next season when there would be more inmates to help with the work. Alton is also dairy herd supply headquarters for the state institutions.


Alton State Hospital, Alton, IllinoisFIVE HOSPITAL BUILDINGS COMPLETED
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 26, 1915
Five of the buildings at the Illinois Hospital for Insane, east of Alton, have been completed - the administration building, two receiving buildings, nurses’ home, and the hospital for the untidy. They represent a cost of $310,000. The buildings cannot be used until other buildings are constructed to be used in connection with them, and ground is being broken now for the three other structures - laundry, bakery, and kitchen, which includes the dining hall and storehouse. There are five contractors on the grounds, three of them from Alton, Henry Wardein, J. J. Wuellner & Son, and F. A. Voorhees Construction Co. The two others are Stohlman and Moorehoff. The barns are going up rapidly, and the same is true of the big power house. It is a remarkable fact that with all the building work that has been going on at the hospital site the past year, there has not been a single accident. U. S. Nixon, the superintendent for the state, is being kept very busy going from building to building inspecting the work done by the contractors. There is no possibility of the hospital being put into use for a long time to come. The institution must include certain departments before the patients may be handled there successfully, and while work is being pressed with all possible speed, and a small army of men is swarming over the ground doing construction work, it is necessarily slow work getting such large buildings finished up to specifications of the state.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 22, 1915
The state will play Santa Claus to all of the inmates of the Alton State Hospital, and Superintendent Frank Dinges will be the representative of the state in that role. Every one of the inmates of the Alton hospital will wake up Christmas morning to find in his room a package containing Christmas candy, some fruit, and a number of other little dainties. A big Christmas dinner will help to celebrate the day at the institution, and in the afternoon and evening an informal program will be given. The program for the most part will consist of musical numbers.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 8, 1916
Up to the present time the state has suffered quite a loss by the death of more than thirty registered Holstein cattle at the hospital farm east of Upper Alton. About three months ago the trouble started among the cattle on the state farm. There were at that time about seventy head on the farm when the sickness started and several animals died. This herd was shipped out in the fall to some other state institution and others were brought here. At intervals an animal would be lost and there was hardly any time, according to workmen on the grounds, that there was not a sick one in the barn. The number of cattle lost by death in the last three months in somewhere in thirty. William Manns of the Minard Joehl farm across the road from the state farm, has had his stock of hogs almost wiped out by cholera. His trouble started some time ago, and he lost fifty head. The disease has now departed from his farm after taking almost all his hogs. Frank Sargent, tenant on the Frank F. Moore farm, is losing his hogs by cholera at the present time. In the last week or ten days he has lost more than twenty valuable animals. The state veterinarian has been treating the cattle on the hospital farm, but just what is the matter with them is not given out by this official.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 11, 1916
The members of the State Board of Administration have confidence in some settlement being reached in regard to the Alton and Eastern Railroad matter. The Board of Administration is confident that the Public Utilities Commission will do something to adjust the matter in the near future as is shown by the plans for the septic tank system which are proposed for the new institution. Charles J. Sutter, an engineer who is an expert in that line of work, visited the Alton State Hospital this morning with the view of making plans for a modern septic tank system. The plans, according to Thomas O'Connor, member of the State Board of Administration, will be for one of the most modern septic tank systems in the country. The plant is to be built to handle the sewage from an institution housing three thousand people. It will cost between ten and twelve thousand dollars, and the sewage will all be treated with air and electricity before being turned into Wood river. Mr. O'Connor said that the plans for the system were to be made with a view to handling sewage from all the buildings that would ever be erected at Alton. He said he believed that the Alton and Eastern Railroad matter would be adjusted and that the work at the Alton Hospital would go on as before. When asked why he believed the railroad matter would be adjusted, Mr. O'Connor said that if some arrangement could not be made, he believed that the Public Utility Commission would order the road to fulfill their promise and construct the line to the Alton Hospital. The first of the patients for the new buildings at the Alton Insane Hospital site will not arrive in Alton until sometime in August or September, according to present plans of the State Board of Administration. At that time about three hundred will be sent to Alton from other parts of the state and will be handled here. Thomas O'Connor, of Peoria, one of the members of the Board of Administration, said while in the city today that the patients could not be sent to Alton until the kitchen and dining room buildings, which are under way, were completed. On account of the unfavorable weather conditions for the past week, and the promise of the continuance of the same, it is not likely that these buildings will be completed until late in the spring. This will mean that the Alton institution will not be really put in operation until sometime in the summer. With exceptionally good weather from now until July, it might be possible to bring the patients here by that time, but this does not seem probable. Mr. O'Connor was inclined to believe that the last of August or the first of September would be about the time the Alton institution would be put in operation. As soon as the Alton institution is opened it will mean the re-districting of the entire State of Illinois. Most of the patients for the Alton institution will come from the institutions which are located at Jacksonville and Anna. There is a great need for the Alton institution, as all of the state insane hospitals are crowded.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 11, 1916
At the Barrioz store on Third street there is on sale some peanuts that have a little story connected with them. They are the product of the mania of one of the patients at the state hospital east of Alton. The patient, a man who had been transferred from the Anna Insane Hospital, had a mania for growing peanuts. He would not be content unless he was allowed to run a small peanut farm. He prepared the ground, planted the seed, and when the vines came up he tended them as a mother would a baby. With his hands he worked with the soil, and he tenderly picked off any bugs and kept the weeds out of the patch. The peanut vines did well. They prospered amazingly under the devoted care of the insane patient. When the peanuts were ripe they were gathered, and they were sold to the Barrioz store where they were roasted and are on sale. Peanut connoisseurs say the homegrown peanuts the insane patient raised have a flavor that is all their own. At the state hospital the story was corroborated. If the peanut grower still wants to grow peanuts next season, he will be allowed to do it, but the statement was made that he might have another mania then, and would not wish to carry out his big project of the year 1915, to become a peanut growing king. The peanuts are of the Spanish variety and are luscious, though the kernels are small in size. The money paid for the peanuts was put into a fund to the credit of the patient, as an earning.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 14, 1916
State Architect James Dibeika was in Alton yesterday and visited the state hospital site. The Telegraph is informed that while here, Mr. Dibeika disclosed that plans are being prepared for the erection of two additional "cottages" at the hospital capable of housing 150 patients each. The plans will be rushed through and the contracts awarded at an early date. Work will be started this summer on the job. The Telegraph has learned that the plans for the hospital call for 27 buildings of all kinds. Five are completed, four under construction, and two additional ones will be started soon. The plans call for a $2,000,000 hospital, the finest in the world. The two new cottages, which are being planned, will be fireproof in every detail, and will be the latest in the way of a hospital for the insane. The fact that the electric line is soon to be built to the hospital site has justified the state board of administration in enlarging the plant it will build at Alton to care for insane wards. Insanity is growing fast in the state, and owing to the delay in building the Alton hospital it is necessary to provide for more patients than when the plan was originally made.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 11, 1916
There will be forty insane patients who will attend the Cole Circus tomorrow afternoon, if the weather is favorable. It is being planned to take the patients at the Alton State Hospital to see the circus. The state has found that circuses are good for the convalescent folks who are inmates of the state asylums. They are entertained, their minds are diverted, and their time is taken up with pleasant things. Fred Dinges, the superintendent, will have charge of the forty patients who will go in a body to see the menagerie, and to watch the circus actors, and to laugh at the clowns. There will be a demand for the seats near where the hospital patients sit, as it is said to be quite amusing to see the patients as they enjoy the circus.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 24, 1916
While in Alton this morning, members of the State Board of Administration made plans to hurry the completion of the first unit of the Alton Insane Hospital. The room at the institution is badly needed, as all of the other institutions in the state are overcrowded at this time. While no definite time was stated today as when it is hoped to open the first unit of the Alton Hospital, it is understood that the Board of Administration are expecting to ship the first inmates to the new buildings some time during the coming summer. How soon they will be sent will depend to a great extent on the progress made by the contractors at the institution. In the party this morning was George A. Zeller, Thomas O'Connor, Fred A. Kern and F. N. Harrigan. They went over the grounds to consider some grading and sewerage plans which are under consideration at the present time. At the present time there are about forty inmates at the Alton hospital, but these are being cared for at the old buildings and are what is known as trusties. The patients who are to be brought here during the summer will go into the new buildings which are being completed or are nearing completion at the present time. The institution is being constructed in units, and the first unit will handle about 350 patients. This will relieve the congested conditions in some of the other institutions over the state. This afternoon a tractor plow was put to work on the farm and the machine was giving a testing out. The machine draws four plows and is said to give the best of satisfaction.


Smokestack, Alton State Hospital, Alton, IllinoisMONSTER SMOKE STACK GOING UP AT HOSPITAL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 2, 1916
A smoke stack, which will be the highest around Alton and the highest in this vicinity with the exception of the two tall stacks recently built at the Standard Oil refinery, has been started up at the Alton State Hospital. The big chimney will be in connection with the powerhouse, but its construction is an entirely separate contract from the powerhouse. J. J. Wuellner & Son are putting up the powerhouse, having been awarded the contract by the State Board of Administration. The board recently awarded the contract for building the chimney to the Heine Chimney Company of Chicago, but the Alton firm is superintending the construction of the chimney. It will be the highest smoke stack around the country, because it is being built on high ground. The stack when completed will be 225 feet high, 19 feet in diameter at the ground, and tapering to ten feet at the top. It will take something like sixty cars of special chimney brick to do the work. The brick for the chimney are known as radial chimney tile, and are made for the purpose. The work has been commenced, and today the new stack had attained a height of about eighty feet. Recently the Standard Oil Company put up two smoke stacks right at the main entrance to their plant at Wood River, and these are 250 feet high. They are the only stacks in this vicinity that are any ways near that high, and they can be seen for many miles away. The stack to be built at the hospital will be much more conspicuous, as the hospital is located up on the hills and the bottom of it is pretty close on an air line with the top of the tall stacks at the refinery. All the material for the big smoke stack at the state hospital is on the ground and the first part of the job is naturally much quicker work than when the stack begins to get up into the air. It was stated today that it would take about three weeks longer to complete it.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 20, 1916
Supt. Frank Dinges of the Alton State Hospital, is doing some farming on a large scale at the hospital tract, with the aid of the patients. This year he has engaged deeper than ever in the farming work, and the outlook is that the hospital grounds will yield a large amount of foodstuff for the other hospitals in the state. Mr. Dinges has under him a number of patients who are able to work and enjoy doing it, and when properly directed they get good results. A large area of ground has been planted, and because of the large number of hands available among the patients, it is possible to give the farm better attention than most farms can get. The Alton hospital farm is being transformed into a model farm under the supervision of Mr. Dinges, and while the patients are at work doing this, they are getting the altogether necessary outdoor exercise that hastens their recovery.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 11, 1916
The opening of the Alton State Hospital will have to be deferred at least two months. It was planned to open it September 15, but from the incomplete state of some of the units of the hospital, it is not seen possible to receive a large number of patients there. The kitchen, dining hall, and storeroom, a very important part of the institution and without which the hospital could hardly be opened, is incomplete. This is true of the power plant and of the septic tank system to take care of the sewage. The hospital is now long overdue in its opening, and there is pressing need for it. However, it would be difficult to operate it without the electric line from Alton. This, however, is not an absolute necessity, as motor cars could serve until the electric line is built. Work on the power plant and the kitchen, dining hall and storeroom is being rushed by the contractors and it is expected that two months time will see these buildings ready for use. The sewer system should be ready before that time. The Board of Administration has long been desirous of getting the hospital ready for use before the coming winter, as the other state hospitals are very crowded. The failure to let the contracts for the custodial buildings and the sidewalks and road paving in the grounds is a big disappointment as it was desired to get that work done in a hurry, owing to the demand for use of the custodial buildings and the need for proper walks and roadways in the grounds.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 24, 1916
Dr. George A. Zeller of the State Board of Administration is quoted by an Alton man to whom he talked as saying that there will be no dangerous insane cases incarcerated in the new insane hospital which will be opened next spring. Dr. Zeller said that by the new method of treating the insane, the patients do not become dangerous. Those who are dangerous become so through ill treatment, and it is said by Dr. Zeller that new methods of handling the mentally afflicted have resulted in great improvement in their condition. Dr. Zeller said that the two custodial buildings, bids for erecting which were called for and rejected because there was no money in the state treasury will, when erected, be used to house the very best kind of patients the state will have in the Alton hospital. Dr. Zeller said that the worse cases would be handled in the other departments, while those in the two custodial buildings, the largest on the grounds, would be the patients who are able to take care of themselves. There is a great need for the Alton hospital. Reports from some of the state institutions indicate that there is a great crowding, and that at Kankakee, at least, it has been found necessary to remove the cots and lay mattresses on the floors to save room, so that more patients may have sleeping room.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 28, 1916
The tunnel job at the Alton State Hospital, which has been underway of construction for more than a year, was finished this week, the finishing touches to the big job having been put on today. It is one of the biggest jobs of the kind ever done in the vicinity of Alton. The tunnel was in the hands of Strubel & Helmich, and it will be remembered that when this job was awarded, the Alton firm that captured the contract were more than ten thousand dollars below the next lowest bidder. The tunnel is solid concrete, and it runs over the entire State farm, connecting all the various buildings of the institution. It is high enough inside for a man to walk in, and all the electrical wiring of the whole institution will be done in the tunnel, and no wires of any kind will be above ground. It extends over many acres of ground and it would take a person a good long day to walk through the entire length of the underground passage. The concrete tunnel forms a neat granitoid walk on the surface of the ground. It required six thousand barrels of cement to build it, and with six hundred sacks of cement to a car and four sacks to a barrel, the size of the job can be appreciated.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 14, 1916
Thomas O'Connor, member of the State Board of Administration, was in Alton today and visited the state hospital grounds. Mr. O'Connor said today that Contractor Voorhees is putting the finishing touches on the building he has had under way the past year, and that it is about ready for acceptance. He said that this completes most of the building there until more money is available. Some other contracts are nearing completion, but under no circumstances could the hospital be used until the roads are built around the grounds or the grounds become dry enough to make roads unnecessary. This is the reason it is not expected to open the buildings until next April or May. While in Alton today Mr. O'Connor was a caller at the residence of Bishop Ryan.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 22, 1917
It is expected that the final acceptance of all the hospital buildings east of the city will take place within two weeks. This does not mean that the state hospital will be ready for use in two weeks. It was stated today on good authority that, as predicted before, the hospital cannot be occupied until next April or May. The heating system and the power plant is being built, and work is not near complete on these jobs. Further, the pumps for the water plant have not arrived, and it will be impossible to occupy the hospital buildings until the water, heat and lighting systems are ready for use. An ice plant also is being installed. The completion of the hospital is about two or three years behind the time it was planned to be finished originally, and more than that behind the demand for its use.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 21, 1917
A telephone call from the Alton State Hospital this morning told the police that a man had escaped from there. The doctor at the other end of the telephone informed the police that he probably could find the man at St. Patrick's Church. He explained that every time the man got away, he wanted to go to church, and that he preferred St. Patrick's Church. The doctor at the hospital was so certain that he would find his man at the St. Patrick's Church, that he said he would start someone in after him at once. The church-goer did not reach the church, however, for he stopped at the corner of Broadway and Washington street and told officer George Mayford that he was going to church. Upon further inquiry the policeman found that he had left the insane hospital. He was brought to the police station and held until the men from the hospital arrived.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 26, 1917
When in Alton today, Frank Whipp, one of the members of the State Board of Administration, said that the Alton State Hospital was badly needed at present. All of the other hospitals in the state are crowded to overflowing, and there is urgent need of more room. The Alton institution will be opened as soon as it is possible. At first it will care for 450 patients. Jacob Frisch, who is the chairman of the house sub-committee on appropriations, was unable to come to Alton several weeks ago on account of illness, and he was being taken over the institution today.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 3, 1917
Plans are being made to open the Alton State Hospital for the insane some time during June or July. Members of the State Board of Administration and the State Board of Charities, while in Alton today, stated that these were the plans. The exact date for opening the institution has not been decided upon. It is badly needed on account of the crowded condition in the other state institutions. The State Board of Administration has asked for bids for fitting up the kitchen, laundry, and the cold storage plant. This is one of the last steps in getting the buildings ready to be used. Another part of the work which must be done is the lowering of the Burlington switch track. The Burlington has agreed to do this. The lowering of this track will make it possible for carload lots of food stuff to be shipped to the level of the storage platform. Work will be started on this in the near future. The Board of Administration has also received the promise from the Alton and Eastern Railroad that the work on the railroad would be started by April 15. Mr. O'Connor said this morning that they expected the work to be started at that time, and to be pushed through to completion as soon as possible so that the street car line could be used shortly after the Alton Institution was thrown open to the public.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 12, 1917
By United Press, Springfield, IL - The House today passed the Garesche bill, authorizing the increase in capacity of the Alton State Hospital from 1,500 to 5,000. The bill was offered because it had been found possible to handle the insane better in large numbers than in smaller lots, and for that reason the House favored the bill which would require that the state enlarge all present institutions to 5,000 capacity before building new state hospitals for insane.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 13, 1917
The transfer of twenty patients from the Jacksonville State Hospital to the Alton State Hospital was effected today, and seventeen patients from this place were taken back to Jacksonville. The new hospital buildings have not been occupied, and for the present the old buildings on the grounds are still being used. Only such patients as are easily handled may be held at the Alton State hospital now, and as some now here could not properly be cared for, the exchange was made. Dr. Smith, medical director, said that in two months it is expected the new hospital will be thrown open and patients will be brought here from other institutions, which are overcrowded.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 3, 1917
A temporary frame building, put up by the Campbell Plumbing and Heating Company of St. Louis on the State Hospital grounds, burned this afternoon, causing considerable loss to the company, as much of their working material and tools were stored therein. No reason can be given for the fire, as the building was locked up and no one was about the place. The fire could be plainly seen by the people in Upper Alton and the report quickly spread that the old Edward Rodgers home, now a part of the hospital, was burning, and within a short time at least a hundred automobiles had arrived from lower and Upper Alton, the sightseers coming to witness a big fire. Number Three fire department responded, and the fire was confined to the one building. Officials at the State Hospital this afternoon reported that the loss would be about $3,000. In speaking of the response of the firemen, the official at the State Hospital said that he was very much delighted with the splendid work done by the Alton firemen. He said he himself had been a fire chief for ten years at Belleville, and that he new how to appreciate good work.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 16, 1917
A part of the State officials of the Public Welfare Department of the State of Illinois were in Alton today making plans for the opening of the Alton State Hospital very soon. After a careful inspection of the grounds and the buildings, the men announced that it would be only a matter of another week until the institution would be ready. From that time the patients will begin to arrive, until four hundred have been received at the Alton institution. In the party that visited Alton today were Charles H. Thorn and Frank D. Whipp, directors of Public Welfare; A. L. Bowen, Superintendent of Charity; F. J. Postel, Superintending Engineer of the Department of Public Welfare; Charles Sutter, Superintendent of Construction; and Ed D. Martin, the new State Architect. Dr. George A. Zeller also accompanied the party to Alton, and took charge as superintendent of the Alton State Hospital. His bond was accepted by the Welfare Department today. The men decided today that the office should be moved at once to the Administration Building, and that was being done today. The old Rodgers place will remain as one of the colonies, and the nurse’s home is to be used for the present as a place for the patients, as the nurses will have plenty of room for their quarters in the Administration Building. A. L. Bowen said this afternoon that the best patients from the other institutions would be sent to Alton. There is considerable work to be done at Alton, and a large part of it will be done by the patients. For this reason, those that are most fitted to care for themselves will be brought to the Alton institution. How soon they will come is still a question. There is still considerable detail work to be done before the institution will be ready to open, but this should be attended to in another week. It seems as if the place will be in operation not later than the first of August. While new buildings are not to be constructed, a large part of the grading work remains to be done. The State Architect is making plans for that at present. As soon as the plans have been completed, the contract will be let, and it is expected that this work will be done this summer. When the buildings were constructed, they were built on one level, and all of the walks and so forth have been constructed with the same view. Now the work of grading the grounds to be single level will have to be done.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 19, 1917
There is no manana [sic] to Dr. George A. Zeller, the new superintendent of the new Alton State Hospital. He has cut yards and yards of red tape since he came here and found a fine hospital capable of accommodating 1,000 patients, he plans to occupy. There was nothing to do but to take possession, viewing it one way, and he did. But looking at it in another way, there was much work to be done before he could occupy the hospital in full. Much of the equipment had arrive, but much more was not here. Said Dr. Zeller today, "there has been much going on here in the last 18 hours. We are moving into the administration building this afternoon. The patients have been moved out of the old farm buildings into the building made for them. The old buildings were fire traps and unsuited for the uses they were being devoted to. The farm buildings are being filled with employees. A dining hall expert will be here Friday to see what is needed and to arrange what is already here. We can feed 1,000 people in the dining hall with no trouble. We plan to put 1,000 patients here as fast as we can do it, and relieve other institutions. The first step taken was to notify the St. Clair and Madison county judges to commit all insane patients to the Alton hospital. That relieves the other hospitals. We have ordered forty patients to be shipped here at once. We already had 40 here. We plan thereafter to transfer about 100 patients a week to the Alton hospital, which is about as fast as it would be convenient to transfer them. In all, we will probably have about ten counties sending patients to the Alton hospital." In the course of his talk, Dr. Zeller said, "There will be no more building for the present at Alton. We found eight buildings ready here, and nobody in them. There were fifteen buildings ready at Dixon and nobody in them. We decided to use what we had and do it at once, and we will use them to capacity. We will camp out in here until we get the equipment, but we will use the buildings nevertheless." The harvesting of wheat has been finished on the hospital grounds. About 1,500 bushels of wheat is being threshed now. Patients are doing almost everything. Dr. Zeller said he found a fine lot of workers at the hospital when he came, and he could use them to advantage. So far as possible, all farm work will be done by the patients in the hospital. It is good for them, he said, and they like it. He expects to keep business moving fast at the hospital, and it will be only a short time until Dr. Zeller has the Alton hospital in fine shape, fully equipped, and used to capacity. Dr. Zeller anticipates that war may bring a call from the government for Illinois to carry a big burden in caring for insane. He says that the accommodations at the hospital may be stretched, as there are buildings on the grounds which may be used for dormitories, and would be very satisfactory. He plans that, when a call comes, Illinois, and especially the Alton hospital, will be ready. Those who know Dr. Zeller know he is great on efficiency and swift in execution. He works under high steam pressure all the time. The dispatch with which he has seized control, and has started to the buildings has aroused the admiration of those who come in contact with him. Indications are that he will make a live and hustling superintendent, and at the same time a man who will give the best kind of care to those unfortunates whose mental disorders have made it necessary for them to be held in the hospital.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 23, 1917
As a step toward getting the Alton State Hospital into condition for immediate use, F. J. McCullough, representing the state engineering office, came to Alton to look after getting the plumbing and wiring of the buildings in good shape. Mr. McCullough said that some of the buildings had been finished and had stood idle for two years, and that defects had appeared in the plumbing and electrical fixtures due to disuse. It became necessary to put these systems in good repair so they could be used, and this is being done. The arrangement of the equipment of the kitchen also was taken up by Mr. McCullough, and he hoped to be able to get everything in shape in a short time. In the meantime, the buildings are being occupied by the patients.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 26, 1917
The Alton State Hospital is taking on the appearance of business since the arrival of Dr. Zeller, who is now in charge. The new ice plant was started yesterday and successfully turned out its first ice. The big smoke stack that was built a year ago to a height of 225 feet is smoking for the first time, and the electric light plant has been started. The patients have been transferred to the new buildings and the big hospital is now in working order throughout, but is on a small scale. The scale will grow steadily, however, as a hundred patients are expected to arrive now any day. As soon as this hundred arrives, more will follow at about the rate of one hundred a week until a thousand are here. The two railroad crossings on the road to the hospital have taken on a busy appearance within the last day or two. Monster steam shovels are at work at both the C. & A. and the C. B. & Q., and the earth is being moved from one place to another at a rapid rate. The Mulville gang is at work at the "Q," and they are making a showing. Their work is to build the approaches to the overhead crossing over the C. B. & Q. tracks. The steam shovel is loading the dirt into dump wagons and it is hauled to the approaches. The Wuellner company has their new excavating machine at work today at the cut-off crossing, and both places are very busy ones.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 27, 1917
Dr. George A. Zeller, the superintendent of the Alton State Hospital, is going ahead fast with his preparations to put the Alton State Hospital in a habitable condition. Today he received a bunch of about sixty patients, which he installed in the buildings along with the patients who had already been on the grounds for a long time. Dr. Zeller found the situation in chaos when he came, and he got busy straightening out the tangle. Someone asked him if he thought he would be able to get this hospital shaped up, and at the same time have patients coming in on him to be taken care. He replied that years ago in the wilds of the Philippines he built a hospital with no city close at hand to supply the things he needed, and he believed he could do better here with Alton so close. He made good on it, and he is housing the patients very comfortably with the work of straightening up is going on. He is one of the busiest men in the State of Illinois. As mentioned before, the buildings were in need of much work to get them in shape to receive patients, but Dr. Zeller declared there was just one time to do things, and that was at once. He cut yards and yards of red tape, terminated a long period of inactivity and got busy putting the buildings in shape for use. The patients who came today were hauled in trucks to the hospital and installed in the rooms prepared for them. It is expected that in a few weeks the place will be perfectly equipped and that the best of conditions will prevail there. Though he is no longer a boy, Dr. Zeller is full of vitality and he keeps things humming all the time.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 1, 1917
Six of the inmates of the Alton Insane Hospital were reported missing early this morning. All of the men are harmless, and there is no danger of trouble for any of them, but the Alton police were asked to keep a lookout for them and turn them back to the institution as soon as they were found. The men are all patients who have been transferred to the Alton institution from Jacksonville. As yet, they have not become accustomed to their surroundings and there is always a chance of them leaving. One of the men was picked up this morning and turned over to the authorities at the hospital.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 7, 1917
The first women to be inmates at the Alton State Hospital will arrive in the city at noon tomorrow. These patients are to come from Jacksonville. Dr. Zeller, superintendent of the Alton State Hospital, was busy today making arrangements for the arrival of the first women to be confined at the new institution. All the patients up to this time have been men. Dr. Zeller this afternoon completed arrangements for transferring the patients from the train at Alton to the hospital site. They will be conveyed in big trucks in the same manner the men have been handled.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 10, 1917
The largest number of patients to arrive yet at the Alton State Hospital is coming tomorrow about noon. One hundred will be in the party, which will include both men and women, and they are coming from Anna. The grounds of the hospital today was the scene of a busy place, getting ready for the big shipment of patients tomorrow. This will be the first lot of patients to be received at Alton from the institution at Anna. Dr. Zeller has hustled things up at the Alton institution, and at this rate he is going to get the big place filled up. Patients will keep on coming in these large numbers the remainder of the month until the thousand mark is reached.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 17, 1917
Fifty male patients for the Alton State Hospital arrived last evening from the Kankakee institution. They were taken from Kankakee to Madison over the Illinois Central railroad, and came from there on the interurban cars. The arrival of these patients swells the number of patients at the Alton hospital to 282. As soon as the new kitchen has been completed, it will be possible to care for 300 more patients at the Alton hospital. Work is being done on that now, and it is believed that it will be but a short time until there are 600 patients located at the Alton institution. Dr. Harry E. Seiwell, formerly of Alton, is at the Alton hospital, and is playing a big part in assisting Dr. George A. Zeller to receive the new patients and put the new institution in working order.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 20, 1917
Not a lock on the door to keep in the patients at the Alton State Hospital is one of the interesting features of this new system of no restraint for the people of broken mentality. Everything is wide open - doors, gates, windows. The new state hospital which Dr. George A. Zeller has been struggling to get opened under discouraging circumstances, is the latest development of the theory of no restraint in handling the insane. Miles and miles of fences around the place offer no restraint to the patients, and they are free to wander over the 1,000 acres of land, and also to go outside whenever they please. No one tries to hold them in, except when some of them become violent. Then they are given the water cure, quieted down, and allowed to run at large again. The patients, coming from institutions where they were more under restraint, have been unable to understand the change in the situation. They imagine someone is trying to play a joke on them. Moving the 350 mentally sick from other hospitals made a great change for them. They have been somewhat disturbed because of the change from their former homes, and some have shown a tendency to run away. It is said that, considering the change in home and change in keepers, the fact that only a dozen out of the 350 have escaped is remarkable. As time goes on and the patients are accustomed more and more to their new home and their keepers, there will be less and less trouble with the patients. Temporarily, Dr. Harry Seiwell, former medical director, is here helping Dr. Zeller in getting opened up. It has been a tremendous job. There is not enough equipment here, and Dr. Zeller has been "camping out" with his patients, as he puts it, but he expects to be settled down soon as he should be. The central kitchen plan is not in use yet because the central kitchen is not ready for use, and probably never would have been but for Dr. Zeller cutting yards and yards of red tape that had long been delaying things. The power plant is already to go, to furnish electric current and to operate the ice machines and serve other purposes needed, but there has been some difficulty and delay in getting men to run the power plant. Dr. Zeller is digging out the concrete sidewalks, deep buried in the ground, and putting them into use. He is also saving some temporary walks laid around the premises, until the state can build permanent walks. The patients at the hospital are enjoying their full of apples. The orchards on the hospital grounds are full of fruit, and they are filled with the patients almost continually. It is planned to engage in intensive farming on the place this fall and next spring. It is planned also to increase the herds of cattle.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 24, 1917
Though the inmates of the new Alton State Hospital are now flying around the country just like a swarm of bees that has been stirred up, soars around until it is ready to settle again, so the inmates of the hospital are expected to settle down soon and become reconciled to the change into new quarters and also to accustom themselves to the "no restraint" rule that is being given a tryout. This theory of caring for the insane is one that Dr. Zeller wanted to try out. The belief is held that the changing of the patients from other hospitals to their new one unsettled them, just like bees might be unsettled. Then the putting of new nurses in charge of them further tended to unsettle them. Once they get settled down, and the attendants get better acquainted with their charges, and the charges with their attendants, it is believed that there will be less of the wandering of the patients around the country, making calls on people in the neighborhood, and for miles around. Many already are getting settled and the others should become attached to their new home and mode of living. As soon as they are used to having no locks on the doors to keep them in, and realize that it is no joke that is being played on them, they will do less traveling about and acquire a stronger "homing" habit. Men who are students of mental defectives say that Dr. Zeller is fully capable of working out the problem and they believe that he is on the right track, but the plan has not been given such an extensive tryout before as he is giving it, considering all the circumstances of an incomplete hospital, an unorganized corps of workers, and new surroundings.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 28, 1917
When the bloodstained, tattered coat of a victim of the car wheels was found hanging on the pilot of the C. & A. locomotive that drew a passenger train leaving Alton at 5 o'clock Monday afternoon, there was written the word finis in the life of somebody who had a tragic enough close of his life, but his death was not near as tragic as his living. The man - he must have belonged to somebody who was interested in him, who will never know what happened to the old fellow - was an inmate of the Alton State Hospital. He died as he had been known, ever since he came into the care of the state in 1912 at the Dunning hospital in Chicago. He passed under the name of John Doe, No. 6, and inasmuch as he was never known to speak to anybody, that is the name under which he will be buried. He never told his name. One day in 1912, the hospital records showed, an old man, apparently a nice old man, was picked up in Chicago on the streets, his mind deranged. He was taken to the Cook county hospital, then was sent to Dunning, and later was sent to Kankakee. The clouds that had settled down on his mind never lifting. He was quiet, was always regarded as trustworthy, but he would not talk. It is not known that he had the ability to talk from the time his mind became affected. He was recently transferred to the hospital at Alton. Here, he was treated as he had been at Dunning and at Kankakee. He was allowed liberty. In the past he had always taken care of himself, but this time he failed to take proper safety precautions. He walked on the railroad track and was hit by a train. The train crew knew nothing of the accident until they reached the Summit and the coat was seen hanging on the pilot. A searching party was sent back, and the mangled body of the old man was found. It was brought to Alton. Search of the body revealed the name of John Doe, No. 6 on the collar. It was reasoned out in the office of Deputy Coroner Bauer that the name indicated the man must be a patient at the Alton State Hospital. Word was sent to the hospital and Dr. Harry Seiwell came to Alton to look at the body. He identified him as the man known at the hospital by the name on the collar. Doubtless, he belonged to somebody, somewhere, but they will never know what happened to him, as his people, if he had any, never knew that he was in the state hospital. He perhaps is listed by his family as among the number of missing men, whose fate will never be known to those closest to him.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 11, 1917
Former Alderman Max Rubenstein, one of the best aldermen the city of Alton ever had, was committed to the Alton State Hospital today by order of Judge H. B. Eaton of the County Court, who held a special session of the court at the State Hospital. Rubenstein had been held in detention at police headquarters on complaint of members of his family, and Judge Eaton agreed to come over after him. He has been sick for a few years, and his mental breakdown was attributed to that. During the time the former Alderman was in the police headquarters, he spent much of his time telephoning to friends about the city. It was said by Dr. Zeller that he believed he would be able to restore the mental poise of the former alderman. The failure of Rubenstein's health undoubtedly began from worry over the death of his daughter, Mrs. Sam Gould, a few years ago. He had gone to many placed in the hope of benefitting his health.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 27, 1917
When William Manns, a farmer living in Wood River township not far from the property line owned by the state and used as a hospital for the insane, went to his barn to feed his horses this morning about 4 o'clock, he found a man standing inside the barn door, which was open. "Hello, what are you doing here?" he asked. "I have a dozen chickens here, dressed and ready for market, and I am waiting for it to quit raining so that I can take them to town," was the answer. "Where's that white horse that belongs here?" he suddenly asked Mr. Manns. The latter said the horse was in the pasture. "Well, I want him," said the barnstormer. Mr. Manns recognized that he was dealing with an inmate from the hospital, and began to use diplomacy. He managed to quiet the man somewhat, and told him he had better come to the house and get a cup of coffee before starting to town, and the man went. Then the authorities at the asylum were notified. Mr. Manns found one of his horses fully harnessed, and found a dozen of his best chickens with their heads wrung off. The heads were scattered around the barn floor, but the chickens were piled together near the door. It is not known how long the man had been in the barn, or how long it took him to do his chicken killing job. The chickens were taken from another building some distance from the barn, and it is supposed were carried to the barn alive, one or two at a time, by the insane man. The man was attired in a coat and undershirt only, but he wore a pair of shoes. It is said this morning that the same man last week drove a team of mules attached to a wagon away from where the owner had left the outfit in Upper Alton, and when overtaken a mile or so from town, he explained that he knew where he could sell the outfit for a good price. He was returned to the hospital this morning.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 28, 1917
It is reported on good authority that some Upper Alton people, or people in the Upper Alton neighborhood near the Alton State Hospital, have quietly taken up the matter of having the hospital patients restrained with Governor Frank C. Lowden. While most of these patients who have been running at large are perfectly harmless, a good many people have been considerably stirred up because of visits made to their homes by the patients and they do not feel safe with the patients wandering about their places. It is a fact that some of the farmers in the vicinity of the State Hospital farm are very uneasy while at work in the fields, fearing the hospital patients might visit their homes while they are in the field and badly frighten the women folks. A case or two of this has been reported of the patients badly frightening the women while the men of the family were in the fields at work a long distance from their homes. Lately since several stunts have been performed by the patients while away from the institution, an appeal to the governor to take a hand in the matter has been prompted. Employees at the State Hospital say they have only two or three patients in the institution that cause them any trouble at all, and one of these makes more trouble than all the rest in the hospital. They have made every effort to keep these patients at home, but once in a while they will escape unnoticed, and the next thing heard of them is when someone telephones the institution to send for them.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 28, 1917
The letter which Dr. George A. Zeller, managing officer of the Alton State Hospital, sent to the city council Wednesday evening, was being commented on by a man who has had wide experience in the handling of mental defectives, and he said that it was perhaps the first time such a communication had ever been sent by the managing officer of a state hospital. The reason is this, according to the expert, Dr. Zeller is the first manager of a hospital for mental defectives who has ever had occasion to do it. The Alton State Hospital is the only institution in the country that gives its patients the freedom given there. It is the only institution that has no restraining walls or fences around its grounds, and for that reason is the only one that gives liberty of action to the inmates. It is an old theory of Dr. Zeller, and he is giving it a thorough tryout, that patients in a hospital of that kind can be handled to much better advantage if their freedom is increased, rather than curtailed. As told before in the Telegraph, the hospital was built with a view to allowing freedom to the inmates, restraint being thrown off to a degree that has never been attempted in such institutions before. On the results of this experiment may depend the future course of treatment for those mentally afflicted. Dr. Zeller so far is pleased with the showing he is making. Said the man who is the Telegraph's authority, Dr. Zeller is a man who is thoroughly learned in the business of caring for the mentally afflicted. He is square and honest, and he will get the results if anybody can get them with this new system. The authority quoted is watching the experiment with much interest himself, though he says that he is glad it is someone else than himself who is pioneering in this direction, as he says Dr. Zeller has undertaken great responsibilities which would terrify anyone but a man of strong resolution and fixed purpose, and with a mind single to making a success of the newest theory in the caring for the insane. In speaking of Dr. Zeller's letter, the Telegraph's authority says that even Dr. Zeller has not yet apparently, concluded that all insane may be given absolute freedom, but that most cases may, and that as soon as guards and patients come to know each other well, it will be possible to determine what cases may be safely trusted to enjoy more freedom and what ones must be subjected to close supervision. The letter, he said, indicates that such a sifting process is in progress. It will be of interest to Alton people to know that the new state hospital at Alton is being made the place for the demonstration of a great idea that had not been given a tryout on such a broad scale as it is being tried here. If it fails, the state will be compelled to fence in the grounds and restrict the patients as in other institutions of the kind. If it succeeds, the fences elsewhere may be removed and perhaps the ultimate recovery of many mentally afflicted may be accomplished where only negative results were achieved in the past. The eyes of experts all over the country are trained on the Alton hospital experiment, in the view of the expert who conversed with a Telegraph representative. It is true that Dr. W. H. C. Smith at Beverly Farm, an institution conducted for another class of mental defectives, those who never had a normal brain, has tried the non-restraint plan with great success. His theory, successful after years of trial, is to make the home so pleasant for the patients they prefer to stay there. Dr. Zeller's idea is applied chiefly to people whose minds once were normal, but where reason has been dethroned, through sickness or other causes.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 5, 1917
Dr. George A. Zeller, managing officer of the Alton State Hospital, is planning for the formal opening of that institution. One of the big events of the day will be a flag raising on a new pole recently set up. Dr. Zeller wants to have Governor Lowden here to participate in the formal opening. The date has not been set, it being contingent upon the convenience of the Governor. Dr. Zeller has been so busy getting the hospital opened he has not had a bit of time to plan for an opening of a formal character. When he came here, he found things in a state of disorder, with hardly a chance to get the big institution going. It is one thing to build a state hospital, another thing to get into shape to have patients put in it. The buildings stood there, monuments of inefficient planning. There was much that was finished and ready for use. There was a great mass of business that had to be disposed of before it would be safe to bring in the patients. Dr. Zeller dispatched orders for the patients about the same time he began dispatching orders for needed equipment. He knew the patients would get here first, and he also knew that the men filling orders would fill them faster if they know that a lot of insane people were "camping out" in a brand new state hospital, waiting for the arrival of the equipment. The result was Dr. Zeller got his institution occupied, while a brand new epileptic colony at Dixon, in exactly the same fix, was not being occupied at all. To get ready for the opening Dr. Zeller had to run stove pipes through windows, and set up temporary stoves. He could not use the great kitchen because there was nothing anywhere near ready in there, so he established kitchens in all the buildings and made every unit of the hospital a separate hospital to itself. Then he began making drives after supplies. He was in a great position to get quick action. He knew that the state of Illinois would exert every ounce of its influence and power to get the hospital shaped up, when Dr. Zeller had a lot of insane patients there dependent upon somebody acting quick. The result was that the Alton hospital has been able to increase its quota of patients steadily. The number will be increased more and more, relieving the overcrowded state institutions that have been needing relief. Planned to be one of the finest in the state of Illinois, the new hospital has many drawbacks, so it is said, but it is believed that expert management will make it a success. The use of the new system of caring for the insane has complicated the difficulties that were in the way of a successful opening of the institution, in the unfinished state it was. Governor Lowden has promised to attend the grand opening, and when he does come the Alton Board of Trade wants to give him a proper welcome. It is planned to have a Board of Trade banquet the same night, and have the Governor there. Dr. Zeller has a plan for giving national aid through the use of the Alton State Hospital. He plans to have this institution in shape to look after an increased number of patients who may suffer from mental troubles, either temporarily or permanently, as a result of the war. The idea was suggested to him when he noticed the immense kitchen where accommodations could be made for cooking for 10,000 men. The kitchen and bakery of the Alton State hospital constitute one of the curiosities of the state. Those who planned those buildings evidently thought that there was to be an immense amount of cooking done on the grounds. It is said that the bakery could supply the city of Alton with bread if it were run night and day, and the kitchen could serve one third of the city with food. This fact made Dr. Zeller think. He considered that there may be necessity for more hospital service when the war advances a bit. If the government chooses to take advantage of such an opportunity as this, it could erect barracks buildings all over the ground to accommodate war victims, and could feed them without any trouble. There is plenty of ground, and the men could be well cared for there. They would have plenty of garden space, if they were able to do gardening. If in an emergency it should become necessary, all the present patients in the state hospital could be shifted elsewhere, and this institution given over entirely to war victims. Shell shock victims are said to be the ones which will require hospital attention chiefly, and would be shipped back to this country for treatment, a United Press dispatch says this and a Washington date line. Of all the American soldiers who will be invalided back from the ..... [unreadable].


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 20, 1917
Dr. George A. Zeller, managing officer of the State Hospital, wants to plead an alibi. He says he isn't responsible for all the queer acting people who disturb the people of Alton and vicinity. Not all the folks who are queer looking and queer acting, and might be suspected of being escaped patients from the hospital, are really out of that institution. Appearances sometimes are mighty deceiving. Dr. Zeller says he is willing to assume responsibility for a share of the annoyances which have been caused by patients running at large, but in proof of his claims that he isn't the only one responsible, he cite four cases. Three of them arose in one day. Yesterday, Fred Dinges was summoned to East Alton to get a man who was acting strange. When he got there, he found he was a workman at the cartridge plant, had money in his pockets, and was evidently loitering about with some evil purpose in mind. Then he was summoned to Rock Spring Park to pick u another man, and the hospital suspect proved to be an old citizen of Alton. Late the same night he was summoned to pick up another man who proved to be an epileptic, who had wandered away from St. Joseph's Hospital. A few days ago, the police picked up a man who was acting queer, and it turned out the man was a brother of a patient at the hospital, but he wasn't legally insane and therefore had a right to be at liberty. These circumstances were cited in support of Dr. Zeller's defense to a committee of citizens, who, headed by the Mayor, called upon him Friday to see about keeping the patients under restraint. Dr. Zeller believes that he will have the moral support of the community in his efforts to handle the patients at his hospital under his new theory. In an interview today, he declared he had reduced the cause of complaint by a big percentage, but that there were still instances of men wandering at large. The women have not been running around. He said: "We have 350 mentally afflicted people here. They sent here about 200 of the very worst cases they had in other hospitals, especially those from Anna. The 200 are the worst in Illinois. We have made great progress with them, and have been taking in new patients at frequent intervals. We gradually get them in hand and quiet them so that we reduce the number of escapes. It will grow less and less as time goes on." Dr. Zeller says the Alton police have been very helpful and he feels grateful. But he warns that you can't always tell by looking at a man whether he belongs to the state hospital or not. He may be somebody you have been used to seeing around all the time, and never paid any attention to him, as is proved by the three instances he cites as having occurred Friday, when none of them was escaped from his hospital.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 14, 1917
Dr. George A. Zeller has joined the ranks of the landowners and tenants who declare that hunters must keep off their grounds. Dr. Zeller says that the state hospital grounds constitute a game preserve. Not only is the hospital site to be regarded as a game sanctuary, but there would be danger of some hospital inmate popping up in front of a hunter and being killed by men who had no such intention. Dr. Zeller says the state will not tolerate any shooting on state property used for hospital purposes, at any time.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 6, 1917
Since the opening of the State Hospital at Alton, the fish and game wardens have been instructed to turn over to the hospital all the confiscated fish they get. Dr. G. A. Zeller, managing officer of the hospital, says that he is receiving two or three barrels of fish a week from the wardens. They seize the fish because they have been illegally caught. Dr. Zeller said that the confiscated fish is chiefly carp and buffalo, and that most of it comes from Grafton. It makes a very acceptable addition to the menu at the State Hospital.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 7, 1917
An insane negro was picked up in the vicinity of Granite City the latter part of last week, and was taken to the State Hospital in this city for treatment. When he was picked up the negro began to yell, and not once in the past week has he let up his insane screaming, much to the discomfiture of all others employed at the hospital. He is in a cage, in order that no one will be harmed by him, in case he becomes violent. The negro refuses to eat, and the attendants say that he has become twice as small as when he was taken to the institution. If nourishment cannot be forced on him and he continues to keep his fast, it is said that he cannot live two days more.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 11, 1917
A shipment of almost one hundred patients from the State Insane hospital at Dunning will arrive in Alton on the Prairie State Express at 5 o'clock, and will be taken to the Alton State Hospital. Dr. Zeller was notified Sunday that the shipment of patients would probably amount to about 85, but today he was informed there may be a hundred people in the crowd. Arrangements were being made this afternoon to transfer the patients from the Alton station to the State Hospital in the snow storm, without exposing them any more than necessary. Several auto trucks will be used, but on account of the heavy condition of the roads it was feared the trucks might not be able to make the trip. Several big bobsleds have been secured for the purpose also. Several trips of the sleds may be necessary, and in tis case the patients will be watched in the Alton station until the vehicles can carry them to the grounds.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 31, 1917
Henry Scheibe, a patient at the Alton State Hospital, was killed Sunday afternoon while at work at the power house on the hospital grounds. Schiebe was so far advanced in his improvement that he was able to do much work about the place, and was the best worker on the grounds. Sunday he was helping at the power plant where an automatic ash conveyor lifts the ashes out of the boiler room to the outside of the building. Scheibe climbed up on top of the cinder pile just over the ash chute. A frozen crust of cinders on which stood broke under him and let him plunge down into the chute and on top of him fell about 15 feet of ashes. It was a difficult task to get him out. For three hours men worked hard to release Scheibe, and at last they succeeded in getting the ashes out and drew out the dead body of the insane man. He was 38 years of age. Sheibe was horribly burned by being dumped into the ash chute along with a lot of hot coals. To cool off the coals and kill the gas in them, in the hope of saving the life of the man, a great quantity of steam was formed down among the cinders, and this added to the burns which he suffered. At a coroner's inquest it was testified by S. R. Baker, engineer at the power house, that he had left the building to perform an errant and that when he came back, he noticed some legs sticking out the top of the ash chute. Another patient there told him that Sheibe had been on top. Closer inspection disclosed the leg of Scheibe sticking out, but it was impossible to dislodge him. The patient had not been ordered to go on top, it was testified, but had gone of his own free will. It was testified there was about a car and a half of ashes in the hopper when the accident occurred, and Scheibe was caught under this when the frozen crust was broken and he tumbled into the chute. The chute through which he passed is about 24 inches square.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 15, 1918 [World War I]
The Alton State Hospital lost two more attendants today, making five in Alton, when two more men, Frye and Oldham of Alton, volunteered to go into the army. These two raised the list of attendants leaving the hospital for camp to five. The men will go to Camp Taylor this evening, and later expect to be placed in the Hospital unit of the army. While the men are away, their wives will remain at the institution and work for the state.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 15, 1918
Margaret Fishbacker, aged 52, died today at Alton State Hospital. The woman has been a state charge for five years, and belonged to the great unclaimed lot. The woman will be buried in the small cemetery at the Wood River Monument, which the Alton State Hospital is now keeping up. The hospital will bury all its unknown dead, and those bodies which relatives do not care to have moved, in this cemetery. The cemetery is being fixed up and will furnish a good burial ground for the unfortunates who are left for the state to handle.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 18, 1918
After Wednesday night there will be 625 patients at the Alton State Hospital, according to the officials at the institution. Large numbers are being shipped out of the northern institutions at regular intervals, to relieve the crowded conditions, and are being sent to Alton. The Alton hospital was built with the purpose in mind of relieving the crowded conditions at the northern institutions, the number of afflicted being very large in and around Chicago. On Wednesday evening at 5 o'clock, special coaches will be carried on Train No. 3, bearing one hundred women patients being sent down to Alton from Chicago. The patients will be accompanied by nurses and .... [unreadable].


Source: February 20, 1918
Elizabeth Waterhouse, aged 78, died last night at the Alton State Hospital after an illness of pneumonia. She was buried in the cemetery on the hospital grounds today.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 26, 1918
Mrs. Avis Hellman, aged 73 years, died today at the Alton State Hospital where she was a patient. Mrs. Hellman formerly resided in Trenton, Ill., and the funeral will be held there, the body to be shipped out of Alton Wednesday morning. Mrs. Hellman is the mother of Mrs. Frank Heilig of 609 Central avenue, this city.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 21, 1918
Frank Dinges of the State Hospital was given a chase yesterday by the patient in the institution, Clarence Weeks, whose legs have been amputated. It will be remembered that Weeks lost his legs by having them frozen. During the last couple of weeks, the man named Weeks has been everlastingly running away from the hospital, and every time he runs off the hospital manager has to send their car out to bring him back. This time Weeks beat Frank Dinges to it in bringing him back. Monday afternoon Weeks was found missing at the hospital, and as no word was telephoned in by anyone who had seen him, consequently the management had no idea as to what direction to go in search of the man who had no legs. The night went by and all-day Tuesday, and Weeks was not heard from. On Wednesday noon a telephone message came in on the Kinloch lines from the country, saying that the legless man was in the corn field at the George Walters farm, four miles north of Upper Alton. The message further stated the man was trying to set fire to the corn shocks, and that all the farmers were afraid to go near him. The message was transferred to the hospital over the Bell telephone, and Frank Dinges started out to the Walters place with the little truck. The road was very rough, and the trip with the machine was a very hard one. When Dinges finally got to the place Weeks was gone, and the farmers did not know what had become of him. Dinges returned to town, and after being delayed a good while in getting back to the institution, he found Weeks had beat him back and was home all right. Weeks can evidently get over the ground with his "stubs" a good deal better than many who have their legs.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 2, 1918
A. C. Stalder, who was taken to the Alton State hospital about two weeks ago from Upper Alton, is in a very low condition and it is believed he is in a dying condition today. Mr. Stalder bought the bakery establishment on Washington Avenue that was formerly owned by his brother, the late F. M. Stalder, after the sudden death of the brother last Fall. Very shortly after the young man took charge of the business, his mind collapsed and he was taken to the hospital. His condition has grown worse each day since being taken to the institution, and his relatives have been at the institution with him continuously. Last night he was practically exhausted, and has been in a prostrated condition since. The wife of the young man and his mother, Mrs. M. A. Brown of Upper Alton, are with him.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 12, 1918
Arthur C. Stalder, who was recently taken to the State Hospital, died there this afternoon. He was a member of a well-known Upper Alton family and had worked in Alton at the barber trade. He recently planned to take charge of a bakery in Upper Alton, but his mind broke down from the effects of illness.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 10, 1918
Announcement was made yesterday afternoon at the Alton State Hospital that the freedom of inmates would be greatly curtailed. This follows a protest made by the Board of Trade directors, joined with numerous protests from residents of that neighborhood. The announcement was made following the finding and identification of the body of an inmate of the hospital, Henry Diez, aged about 50, who had been in the state's care for about 33 years. The man was found lying dead on a farm outside of Upper Alton, and when the hospital was notified it was learned he was a missing patient. His absence had not been noted. Then came the announcement that there would be a tighter rein held on the inmates. The statement issued was that a new doctor and new nurses had been secured, and that the hospital would be managed on a stricter plan so that patients would have less chance to get away. In making the announcement, the request was made also that the public be assured that the petty thieving going on around Alton was not due to the escaped patients of the hospital. "Such conduct, " it was said, "is not characteristic of insane people. They do not engage in petty stealing." This statement was made to set at rest the minds of any householders whose places may have been visited by thieves, as in the recent past when a number of Alton homes were raided. The wandering of the hospital patients over the country has been the cause of much trouble among the people living for miles around the hospital. The people of the vicinity have been very patient while the experiment of "no restraint" in handling insane patients was being tried out. The public were told that it was a good way to get good results from the care of the patients, and the public was hoping that results were good, or soon would be, but the public was growing very tired of it. Threats were being made that some of the people would move away from the neighborhood unless some relief was given them from the visits of the wandering patients. It was following numerous complaints that the Board of Trade directors asked that something be done to restrain the patients, and the request has been complied with, it appears, in view of the announcement made by the hospital authorities that there was to be a much tighter rein hereafter in handling the inmates. There will be more restraint and those in charge will confine the patients who show a tendency to wander about. Generally, the view is taken that there can be no proper conditions at the hospital until a tight fence is built around the grounds, camouflaged so as to let the patients think they are at liberty, but nevertheless a very potent means of keeping them inside the hospital grounds at all times. It is going to be impossible, neighbors believe, to be certain that the patients are under control unless a fence is built. Dr. Zeller has always had a theory that the best results in handling insane could be accomplished by removing all idea of restraint and thus making the inmates better satisfied. The inmates have been well pleased with the system in vogue, as they have been able to make pleasant excursions when and where they pleased. The neighbors have not been so well pleased with it.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 16, 1918
Assistant State's Attorney Gilson Brown has received a communication from Dr. G. A. Zeller, managing officer of the State Hospital, in which he takes up the subject of the needs of the institution for more help. Dr. Zeller says that one reason why the hospital is so short of help is the lack of transportation facilities to and from Alton. The help around the hospital desires to get away from there frequently, and they are so far from an electric line it is very difficult to keep the help at the institution. Dr. Zeller says that when the electric line is finished to the State Hospital, he thinks that much of the troubles there will be solved. He thinks it will be easier to get help to stay at the institution when it is possible for them to have easy means of getting to Alton and back. Dr. Zeller says that he wishes the Alton people would get behind and help push to bring about the early completion of the electric line, as he believes that he will be able the to keep much more adequate helpers there, and will be able also to prevent the escape of patients, even under his "no restraint" plan of handling the institution. It is said that the Alton and Western is making good progress with its line, but that it is being held back somewhat by shortage of labor needed for construction work. All the material is ready and there is nothing in the way now, except labor shortage that would prevent getting the line in operation to the hospital very shortly.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 31, 1918
The Alton State Hospital has established a little burying ground of its own, and at this early date in the history of the institution twenty people have been buried upon the little cemetery. The piece of ground that has been made the hospital cemetery amounts to about an acre, and it is the old ground in the entire possessions of the State here that extends across the Fosterburg road on the north side. It is a part of the old Kirkpatrick farm, and the Fosterburg road crosses the farm just at the point where it cuts off the acre from the farm, leaving the little piece of land on the other side of the road to complete the tract. The little tract adjoins the monument erected a few years ago to the memory of persons killed in the famous Wood River massacre. Two deaths occurred at the State Hospital yesterday. Dora Johnson, aged 37, was the first death yesterday, and as she has no friends or relatives, she will probably be buried on the State Hospital burying ground. Each body is buried on this cemetery with appropriate services. Heart trouble was the cause of this death. Ann Gou_, of Trenton, Ill., aged 75, died yesterday at the State Hospital. She was brought over from Trenton in an auto, the first of July, and had been in the hospital only a month. Undertaker C. N. Streeper shipped the body to Trenton this morning.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 20, 1918
Seized as he descended from a train and hustled off to an insane hospital after a vigorous struggle in which he sustained a shoulder dislocation, William Ray, elevator man at St. Joseph's Hospital, is now in a bed in St. Joseph's Hospital instead of being under restraint as a violently "disturbed" man in the Alton State Hospital. It was a case of mistaken identity. According to the story told by Ray after Dr. G. K. Worden, the county physician, had patched him up, he had worked a few days at the Western Cartridge plant and starting home had boarded the wrong train. He discovered he was on a C. B. & Q. train and asked that the train be stopped and he be put off. The next station happened to be Upper Alton, near the State hospital. Ray had just descended from the train and was getting his bearings when, he says, two strong men seized him and insisted upon carrying him off to the State Hospital. Ray's story is that he fought desperately, and in the struggle his shoulder was dislocated. Finally, overpowered by superior strength, Ray was hustled off to the hospital. He protested that he belonged in Alton and had friends there, but at the state hospital all sorts of queer tales are heard from escaped lunatics, and no attention is given to them. Ray's story fell on deaf ears. It was so like all the others. Finally, when a checkup was made it was discovered that Ray did not belong in the State hospital, and he was released. He went to his old home at St. Joseph's Hospital, where he is recounting his experiences. He was mistaken for an insane patient who was at large.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 10, 1918
A man was found Wednesday afternoon, mired in the mud of Wood River, near the plant of the Alton Stoneware & Pipe Co. He had died a horrible death while vainly struggling for life in the quicksand and foul mud of the creek. Two boys out hunting came across the body in a lonely bend of the river, east of the East Alton tile works. They were Victor Cook and Charles Parker. They informed people of East Alton of the discovery, and an investigation showed the man had been dead several days. Deputy Coroner Bauer was summoned, and the body removed from the mud. The man, it was discovered, was an inmate from the Alton Insane Asylum, and attendants from the institution identified him from the clothing worn and his general appearance. The man had wandered or fallen into the quicksand from the high bank that overhangs the creek at this point. He had struggled hard, and in his fight for life had torn most of the clothing from his body. The place is a lonely one, far from any habitation, surrounded by a thick wood, and the cries of the man for help could not be heard. The jury empanelled by the coroner at the scenes of the tragedy rendered a verdict of death from exhaustion. The body was buried at once in the grounds of the hospital, after the head physician had viewed the body and identified it as one of the hospital patients. Deputy Coroner Bauer did not think the man was caught enough in the mud to have imprisoned a man in normal condition of mind, but, he said, the man not having his right mind and unable to plan to extricate himself, perished from exhaustion. One leg was caught to a depth up to his thigh. The other leg was not mired, nor was any part of the body or the arms.


[Flu Epidemic of 1818]
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 14, 1918
Some Altonians who made a trip to the Illinois State Hospital at Upper Alton yesterday were not permitted to enter the grounds. They were told that visitors are barred during the influenza epidemic in the state, and that the institution is quarantined. No patients are allowed to roam at will, as has been the custom for some time, and although an occasional one may slip out in spite of the few guards and watchers, they are not causing terror among the women and children by entering houses at unseasonable hours without knocking or peering through windows. For some weeks past it was said at the institution, there has been a tightening of regulations and much less liberty has been allowed patients. Now all liberty outside the grounds is stopped.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 26, 1918
Dr. George A. Zeller of the Alton State Hospital said that of forty cases of influenza at the State Hospital, twelve developed pneumonia, and two deaths occurred. He was able to loan three nurses to Jefferson Barracks to nurse the sick soldiers.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 28, 1918
Minnie Wilson, an inmate of the Alton State Hospital, died Sunday from pneumonia. The body was shipped to Olney, Ill. this morning for burial.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 5, 1918
The past few days have been marked by a great increase in the number of fatalities from influenza. While the number of new cases is not increasing as fast as formerly, the cases which were reported are developing into fatalities, which accounts for the great increase in the death roll. Undertakers have been kept busy, and private funerals are numerous, but not near so numerous as they have been in other places much smaller than Alton. The death rate from the influenza is still comparatively low in Alton, being far below other cities, but undertakers are preparing to take care of many bodies if occasion arises. At the Alton State Hospital, where the patients have low vitality due to their mental troubles, the number of deaths is increasing steadily. The local undertakers have not been seeking this work, as in almost all the cases, nothing but the meager amount allowed by the state is available to pay for the burial. The bodies must be removed from the State Hospital to the undertaking establishments, and held there the required length of time to make certain whether claimants will appear. In almost all the cases, no one claims the bodies, as it is the experience of the state authorities, the families pay little attention to the State Hospital inmates once they are consigned there, and many of the inmates have never been recorded with their right names, owing to lack of information on the subject. The secretary of the Board of Health, Miss Margaret Dennison, reported 23 new cases of influenza. Fifty-one cases were reported Monday.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 19, 1918
The State Hospital was kept busy nearly all day yesterday chasing up escaped patients who came into Alton. There were two in the forenoon that took up all the time of the hospital's "hunting up" force, and they were taken back to the institution at noon. Late in the afternoon a man wearing eight or ten neckties, all at the same time, and acting queer, was noticed on Washington avenue near Mill's bend, and was soon recognized as a patient from the hospital. The hospital was notified and sent in for the man, and he was taken back without any trouble at all. Last evening about 7 o'clock, a colored woman thinly clad, wearing no hat at all, applied to several business houses in Upper Alton for money to get to St. Louis. She was recognized at once as a hospital patient. She was detained by a crowd of young men and boys in one of the stores until the hospital was notified. There was a good deal of delay in locating the help at the hospital and the woman waited in Upper Alton a long time before the machine could be sent in from the hospital. The police officer on the Upper Alton beat later took charge of the woman and kept her in out of the cold at the council room while the hospital helpers came in for the patient.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 23, 1918
J. Vickes died suddenly this morning at the Alton State Hospital from what is reported to have been a stroke of apoplexy. Deputy Coroner William H. Bauer was notified and will hold an inquest this afternoon. Vickes formerly lived at Madison, Illinois.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 24, 1919
Out of 650 insane people at the Alton State Hospital, 280 are from St. Clair county, and only 154 from Madison County. These figures are shown in the latest report of that institution prepared by the managing officer, Dr. George A. Zeller. The institution has been receiving many new patients of late, and notwithstanding the fact that there were forty deaths from influenza in the hospital, the number of patients has grown. Although 80 percent of the hospital attendants had the influenza, none of them died. The cause of the large mortality among the patients is that they are lower in their vitality and cannot resist the ravages of disease. Dr. Zeller says that the mortality at this hospital was no greater than at any other insane hospital, all of them showing high death rates during the influenza epidemic. Seven uniformed men from the army are among the attendants at the hospital now, Dr. Zeller said. Five of them are men who were in the hospital's employ before going to serve the colors. The other two are new help furnished by the Federal Employment Service. Dr. Zeller says that his soldier attendants covered a wide field of service in the army. Some of them wear wound stripes on their sleeves, some having served through the second battle at Verdun. The health of the State Hospital has been remarkably good of late, there being few cases of severe sickness.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 25, 1919
That there would be a vicious attack made before a Legislative Inquiry Committee against the non-restraint plan of handling insane patients at the Alton State Hospital became apparent today when it was given out by Representative Norman G. Flagg that a large number of complaints would be laid before the committee by residents in the territory for miles around the State Hospital. Mr. Flagg, incidentally, is of the belief that insane patients at the hospital started the fire that destroyed a building on the Charles Brandt place. Mr. Flagg says that no other theory is tenable. The theory is that some wandering patients from the hospital entered the unoccupied house, found some potatoes in the cellar and started a fire there to roast potatoes, thereby setting fire to the house. The appraisal committee of the Mutual Fire Insurance Company, consisting of Mr. Flagg and Fred Zoelzer, took that view and will so report to the insurance company. They allowed the insured $1,276 for the fire loss. Mr. Flagg said that a Legislative committee will come down from Springfield to visit the State Hospital in a few days, and he said he is urging all the farmers in that part of the country where the patients roam to insist that the state provide a tight fence around the hospital grounds, and that the patients be put under restraint. Mr. Flagg will probably be with the committee when it comes here. In speaking of the continuance of the non-restraint system at the hospital, Mr. Flagg said that there were numerous complaints. One farmer, he said, was roused on a cold night at midnight by an alarm at his front door. Going to investigate he found a burly negro, much bigger than the farmer, and it developed the negro had come to stay. The farmer could not eject him from the house, and so he was forced to rekindle the fire and keep it going while he sat up with his insane visitor until morning. Numerous incidents are being reported which point to a vigorous protest being made to the Legislative Committee against a continuance of the practice of non-restraint for these insane people.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 7, 1919
Judge J. E. Hillskotter of the County Court had a ghastly experience this morning when he, with Doctors Lemmen and G. K. Worden, went to the home of Roy W. Bratton, at 517 Market street, to hold an inquiry into his sanity for the purpose of recommitting him to an insane hospital. Bratton, a relapsed patient, had been acting queer, and his family sought to have him sent back to the State Hospital. Judge Hillskotter came over to make the examination and called at the home. The family said the patient was in the next room, and they would call him. Going in to call him out to where the county judge was sitting, members of the family were horrified to see him draw a razor across his throat, inflicting a nasty wound. He was hurriedly taken to the hospital for surgical attendance. After cutting his throat, Bratton walked around the room for a while and even sat up in the ambulance. Judge Hillskotter held an inquiry into the sanity of William War also. Bratton is a discharged soldier. He was sent home from the army, a victim of dementia praecox, and is incurable. Doctors attending the man said that if he would last a few hours he would probably live on. Notwithstanding his mental condition and his desperate physical condition after he had cut his throat, the surgeons worked hard to patch up the severed blood vessels, and they also filled his arterial system with salt water in the hope of maintaining circulation, to make up for the loss of blood. The doctors said that after the patient had fled from the room on their entry, he went to the bathroom where he found some razors that belonged to shaving outfits. With one of these he slashed his throat. It was reported at a late hour this afternoon by officials at St. Joseph's hospital that Bratton's condition remained unchanged.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 12, 1919
Roy W. Bratton, who made an attempt on his life last week by slashing his throat with a razor at his home at 517 Market street, has recovered completely from the injuries and will be discharged tomorrow from St. Joseph's Hospital. Dr. George K. Worden states that Bratton's injuries have healed so completely that scarcely a scar remains where the razor wound was inflicted. The razor severed blood vessels, and Bratton bled so much that the doctors injected a saline solution into the arteries to keep up the blood supply. Bratton made the attempt on his life when County Judge J. E. Hillskotter, of Edwardsville, accompanied by Doctors Harry R. Lemen and George K. Worden, went to his house to conduct an inquiry into his sanity. The insanity inquiry was postponed and the man rushed to the hospital in the effort to save his life. The physicians look upon Bratton's complete recovery from his injuries as remarkable.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 25, 1919
Dr. George A. Zeller's policy of non-restraint evidently has served one good purpose, as on Sunday the fears which a fire excited in the minds of two hospital patients who were passing, caused the fire to be discovered by others who gave an alarm. It is only a matter of justice to Dr. Zeller and his idea of non-restraint in the handling of insane patients, to say that much more damage might have been done to the Orr house, neighbors say, had it not been for two wandering hospital inmates whose attention to the fire was attracted first. Then when they saw the fire, the two hospital inmates seemed to become very much excited and they turned quickly and started to run as fast as they could go. Whether they had been warned about fires, and seeing the house ablaze had fears that they might be blamed with starting it could not be ascertained. They became so terrified that other people noticing their alarm looked in the direction the two patients had been gazing when they made the start to run, and there the neighbors discovered the Orr house was on fire. John W. Olmstead is authority for the story, and he says that the two patients were undoubtedly the first to know the house was ablaze. The argument is presented by some people that but for the policy of non-restraint, the fire in the house might not have been discovered in time to be of any benefit in preventing destruction.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 10, 1919
The difficulties of conducting a state institution for the insane and demented, especially during war times when such institutions are overcrowded, were told to 15 farmers who attended a hearing before members of a sub-committee of the Appropriations Committee of the Illinois House at the Board of Trade last night. Representatives Jacob Frisch and M. F. Hennebry, members of the sub-committee, who are making a tour of the state's institutions, and Charles H. Thorne, head of the Department of Public Welfare, were present to hear complaints on the policy of non-restraint now used at the Alton State Hospital. President George M. Potter, of Shurtleff College, one of the spokesmen, told of an inmate of the state hospital who comes almost daily to the Carnegie library at the college. The man is peaceable and has always conducted himself in a gentlemanly manner, Dr. Potter said, but while he is there the woman librarian and the women students of the college are under a strain. In replying to this shortly afterward, Dr. Zeller, superintendent of the hospital, said the man is the son of a great educator who formerly held a chair in the divinity school of Chicago University, and was a writer and professor of national renown. One other son of the professor was killed in battle, while the third was drowned. The wife of the Chicago University man, whose name was given by Dr. Zeller, still lives. President Potter stated after the meeting that he had heard the father of the demented man, who died last fall, speak on several occasions. In making his complaint against the policy of non-restraint, President Potter, who spoke after several farmers, had told of various incidents, and Representative Frisch had told of the limitations of the past imposed on the state, due to war conditions, declared he wished to complain against the policy, not a fact here and there. While personally neither he nor the members of his family have come to personal harm, Dr. Potter said the people of his section of the city are laboring under a certain strain. The strain caused by the fear that a man might go to his home at night and find his wife and children in a frightened condition because of attempts of escaped inmates to enter the house. In leaving home at night one must always lock the house securely, Dr. Potter said, and even then there is the fear that property might be damaged, thus increasing the strain under which people must work. Saying he did not propose to know more about the treatment of insane people than Dr. Zeller and other experts in the work, Dr. Potter said he wonders if the policy is accomplishing anything insofar as the patients are concerned. If they are benefited, he continued, is the benefit to them great enough that a whole community should live and work in constant fear and under a constant strain to accomplish it. Having been raised on a farm, Potter declared, he has some idea of the size of an acre. The farm on which he worked was a 160-acre tract, and he considered it quite a large expanse of territory to roam in. He thought the distance far, particularly after a hard day of plowing when he walked it to go home. With this experience as to the size of an acre, President Potter said he considered 1300 acres a large expense of territory for patients to roam in. Representative Frisch acted as chairman of the meeting. In assuming the chair, he told of the difficulties of financing state institutions. He said that Alton had asked for the state hospital. He said the hospital had to be used before it was really ready for occupancy because of over-crowded conditions in other institutions of the state. With a number of people larger than its capacity, the local institution faced difficulties. It was impossible, he said, to have a systematic system of control when the institution was handicapped. Then, during the war, men enlisted were drafted and entered war work. Women entered war work, and it was a difficult matter to secure proper help for the state institutions. But now that the war is over, Frisch said, conditions are better, more money will be available, and things generally will be much improved at all state institutions. He asked the people to "bear with the state officials," and said that with their cooperation much can be accomplished which will be of benefit not only to patients, but to the community as well.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 18, 1919
Col. Frank D. Whipp and Supt. of Charities A. L. Bowen are authority for the statement that the State of Illinois will start, in a short time, erecting the new buildings which will be added to the Alton State Hospital. The Legislature has given the appropriation of $500,000 for making extensions to the Alton State Hospital, and it is this money that will be spent as fast as plans can be perfected and contracts let. The Alton Hospital is to be gradually enlarged and the accommodations improved. The same state representatives declared that they would insist that the electric line be extended to the hospital grounds according to a contract that was made at the time the hospital was erected. The state not only has a written promise to extend the lines to the hospital, but it also has an understanding and a written agreement whereby the Alton & Eastern will build the line, the state having put up $22,000 toward the viaduct on which the car line operates. The state may demand return of that amount of money unless the car line is extended to the doors of the hospital as agreed long ago. On Monday, the representatives of the Alton & Eastern were summoned to Springfield to have an understanding about the extension of the line. It is understood that the Alton & Eastern representatives, while pleading financial inability to build the line, were told that the state would insist upon the line being completed according to the agreement. The company has heretofore declared its inability to get the money to make the extension. It is claimed by the state it would be cheaper to build the line than to pay back the $22,000 the state invested in the viaduct.


Frank Dinges, Alton State Hospital, Alton, IllinoisFRANK DINGES RESIGNS AT ALTON HOSPITAL - NEW FARM POLICY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 28, 1919
Frank Dinges, for six years the head farmer at the Alton State Hospital, has offered his resignation to take effect at once, and the state has announced a change in policy in conducting the farm end of the institution as the result of the resignation of Dinges. Dinges, with his brother-in-law Hugo Gruenewald, who have been at the Alton State Hospital since it was started, will go to Belleville, where they will open up in the automobile and garage business. At the same time, an announcement is made the the Alton State Hospital will start construction of twelve new buildings not later than the first of October. A. L. Bowen, Superintendent of Public Charities of Illinois, was in Alton yesterday with the plans for the twelve new buildings, which are to cost the state $510,000. He said that the work would be advertised at once, and he expected to have the construction on the first of the buildings started not later than the last of September or the first of October. The construction of the twelve new buildings will make the Alton State Hospital the largest in the State of Illinois. It is now one of the best equipped hospitals in the world for the care of the insane. The state is also announcing a change in policy at the hospital in regard to the farming end. The office of head farmer will be done away with, and the state farm will be turned into a model farm that will serve as a kind of experiment station for the State of Illinois. The office of Supt. Farmer will be created, and it will be filled by a graduate in agriculture from the University of Illinois. For several years the Alton State Hospital has been farmed for the herd of cattle on the place. These will be added to and improved, and everything possible will be done to make the state farm a model. Dinges, it is expected, will leave in the next few days for Belleville to take up his new work there. He has made a number of friends who will regret to see him go. Authorities at the institution wanted it made clear today that Dinges was leaving of his own free will because he believed he could earn a better livelihood at the automobile business in Belleville.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 9, 1919
Dr. George A. Zeller, managing officer of the Alton State Hospital, has acquired a wonderful old bed, he says. A few days ago, the Telegraph published an account of the sale of the belongings in the old Cole home in Upper Alton, and that the one remaining object of interest was a 10-foot-high bed of the days of Louis XIV, the Grand Monarch of France, under whose reign furniture and decorations were designed with lavish ornamentation. This old bed was offered for sale with its beautiful hangings for only $25, but the drawback was it was so tall no ordinary room could receive it. Dr. Zeller is now looking for someone with a 10-foot-high ceiling, so he can let them use the bed, but a condition that he will attach is that Dr. Zeller is allowed to sleep in it sometimes. He is a writer of much ability, and the Institutional Quarterly published by the state contains frequently works from his pen, some of them facts, some of the fiction, and some of the middling. Dr. Zeller has just written one story that is in the last class, and now he sees in this old bed inspiration for a sizzling work of fiction. He plans, some night, to sleep in that old bed, and then let his fancy run riot. He thinks that there ought to be inspiration that would bring forth a great work of literature. The bed he has purchased is something he is very proud of. He does not intend to part ownership, but he will let someone keep it who will take care of it for him, but the question is, who has a room with ceiling high enough to accommodate it.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 30, 1919
The prospect of a half million dollars’ worth of buildings for the Alton State Hospital to be constructed this fall and next spring is slipping. State authorities are in no hurry, they said today, to have the buildings constructed in Alton. The twelve new buildings were to cost $510,000, and would have made the Alton State Hospital the largest in the State of Illinois, and one of the most modern in the world. The money has been appropriated by the Illinois Legislature, and it was expected that the contracts would be awarded this fall and the construction of the buildings would be started at once. A. L. Bowen, Superintendent of Charities, told the Telegraph in an interview today that his department was doing nothing to hurry the work on the new buildings in Alton. "The plans for the new buildings have not been submitted to this department or approved by it. The department is in no hurry to begin work at Alton because the street car line, which was promised when the institution was located at Alton, has not been finished. Our employees are still forced to walk a long distance and to pay an "exorbitant fare," he said. He indicated that there was little chance of the buildings being started this spring, and there was some question as to when they would be started. The street car matter, which he referred to, is the old problem of the Alton & Eastern. At the time an effort was being made to bring the State Hospital to Alton, the company promised in writing to construct a road to the hospital. After the hospital was located here, the company failed to keep its promise, and the matter was taken up by the state with the Public Utility Commission. The Commission ordered the construction of the road. The company complied by putting the road over Wood River, but it does not go up the hill and still stops a great distance short of the hospital. Efforts of the State Board of Charities to get the company to extend the road, or to have Alton force the company to extend the road have all ended in failures.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 9, 1919
Charles Clark, 48, of Alton, an escaped patient from the Alton State Hospital, was killed by a limited interurban [railroad] car near Oldenburg just before noon yesterday. The body was taken over by a Granite City undertaking establishment and an inquest will be conducted there this evening. According to an official at the State Hospital this morning, Clark was one of a detail working on a coal pile, when he left the hospital. With the other members of the detail, Clark left the building and went to the coal pile about 8 o'clock. It was shortly after this that he was missed. Efforts to find him failed, and the news of his death received last night was the first information of his whereabouts. Clark had been at the hospital for some time and was described this morning as a quiet man who was in the habit of wandering about. He was never violent and talked but little, it was said. Mrs. Henry Kemper, 460 Bluff street, is the wife of Clark's adopted brother, and has visited him several times at the hospital. The funeral will be from her home at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Clark was not married. The body of the man was brought to Alton last night and is in charge of Deputy Coroner Bauer. The funeral will be tomorrow from Mrs. Kemper's home.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 27, 1919
That Alton and Madison County had an important place in the history of Illinois state public institutions was asserted by Col. Frank D. Whipp in a speech at the Y. M. C. A. yesterday. In Alton, he said, the first state institution was started ninety years ago, the Alton penitentiary, later moved to Joliet. This reference was made by Col. Whipp in prefacing his talk on the subject, "The Wards of the State," in which he made the further statement that in the state institutions, Madison County has 275 inmates, of which 100 are classified as insane, 25 feeble-minded, 100 are prisoners, and the remainder are in other state institutions. Col. Whipp also referred to the projected increase in the size of the Alton State Hospital, which he said will be made, as well as increases in other state institutions. He said, before the meeting, that he expects to see the plans for this addition to the hospital finished during the winter, and work may be started next spring. He said that the ardor of the state for building a bigger institution here is being shilled by the attitude of the street car company in not extending its line to the hospital as promised. The lecture was illustrated by motion pictures of State institution activities at the Lincoln feeble minded institution, State reformatory, old and new penitentiaries at Joliet, Chicago State Hospital for the insane, Eye and Ear Infirmary, Industrial Home for the Blind, Geneva Training School for Girls, and the St. Charles Training School for Boys; also scenes from the State Capitol, of Governor Lowden, other State officers, the Supreme Court, and both branches of the Legislature in session. Starting with the early history of the State, he described its progress up to the present time, expanding more particularly on the institutional area, beginning with the establishment of the first State institution, the penitentiary at Alton, 90 years ago. Of the State wards, he said the insane constituted the greater portion, there being 17,000 cared for by the State, also that there were 2,200 feeble-minded, and 4,000 prisoners in the penitentiaries and the reform schools. He gave also the number of employees in the service as 4,000; that the rate of mortality of inmates each year is approximately 10 percent, and that on an average of eight inmates of the State institutions die every day. He stated that the annual cost of these institutions was approximately eight million dollars. He stated that there were six hundred buildings required to take care of the unfortunates, that the plants, twenty-four in number, located in various parts of the State, were valued at $25,000,000. The farms consist of 11,000 acres of land. Last year's crops amounted in value to $780,000.00; also, that 98 tons of pork were produced for institution consumption, that these institutions own 1,500 head of dairy cattle and 607,000 gallons of milk were produced last year. The films were new ones, taken during the months of July and August, and have not heretofore been shown in this part of the State. A scenario was presented showing the old way of receiving and treating insane patients compared with new methods, and also pictures of some of the difficult problems this State has to deal with. The colonel stated that it is not the object of the department to arouse the sympathies of the people by showing morbid and horrible pictures, but the purpose is to bring to the public a realization as to what the department faces every day in the way of difficult problems, and to show the citizen of the State what is being done with part of the large sums they pay in taxes.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 8, 1919
Alton may find a real asset in the hospital for insane, just east of town. The inmates of that institution have undertaken, with the encouragement of Dr. George A. Zeller, managing officer, to gather fuel to supply homes in the city of Alton who may stand in need of it. To keep the inmates employed is one of the problems of the insane hospital management. There are few things they can do, but when Dr. Zeller picked out of his large family enough patients who could be employed in gathering firewood, and set them to work picking up pieces of wood on the state hospital grounds that would be suitable for use in heating or cook stoves, they got busy with a will. The inmates of the place had found in the wood gathering stunt a task they were very glad to do. Notice was sent to Alton by Dr. Zeller that he would have a large quantity of wood ready for use as fuel in Alton, all gathered by the hospital inmates, if there was any need for it. Dr. Zeller also turned over a car of coke to the local dealers. The sawing and sale of wood will be started when Mayor Sauvage finds that it is impossible to get any more coal.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 28, 1922
A great, systematically working farm, with each worker having his task to perform - and performing it - and contentment apparent everywhere - the is the impression one gets when he visits the Alton State Hospital. One thinks of it as a farm, particularly when he makes a tour of inspection such as newspaper men made as guests of Dr. C. E. Trovillion, the managing officer, yesterday. The apple orchard was first visited. The crop this year broke all records. It will total 3,500 bushels. A large quantity of cider has been made, and apples are now being barreled, prepared for winter use. Seventeen hundred gallons of apples have been canned. Groups of patients were at work picking. About ten or 12 patients to a tree, formed the working group, each group in charge of an attendant. The crop includes many varieties of apples. Joe Copeland, formerly of Calhoun County, is the gardener and orchardist at the hospital. He has introduced modern methods of picking and sacking. After a walk through the great orchard, the newspaper men, in company with Dr. Trovillion and Dr. Waters, his assistant, visited the agricultural exhibit in the administration building. In the exhibit are samples of all products grown on the hospital farm. They include various kinds of corn, pumpkins, watermelons, hay, tobacco, turnips and many others. Included was broom corn, from which all brooms used at the institution are made. This year was the first tobacco crop. Tobacco is rationed among men patients, and growing of the crop there will cut down expenses. The crop was a good one, 30 acres having been planted. In the same room were products of the occupational therapy department. In this department, demented persons are re-educated. Much of the work is similar to that of kindergartens and opportunity rooms of public-school systems. They included door stops, ornamented in several colors; cardboard parrots in many colors; finely woven rugs; and similar articles. It was after the stop at the agricultural exhibit that the farm was visited. There are three farm houses, each occupied by a director and his wife, and several patients. At one was a pond in which were swimming ducks and geese. At the institution are 100 geese, 200 Indian Runner ducks, and 200 Pekin ducks. The party also visited the dairy. It is a modern dairy, too, in which the cows are brought to feed at milking time. This building was spotless. When the reporters visited it, it was being cleaned by a patient. Keeping the dairy clean is the one goal of this patient, who, Dr. Trovillion said, puts in virtually all his time cleaning the building. An alfalfa field, from which three crops have already been cut, was visited. An asparagus field, watermelon patches, cornfields, also were viewed - all finely kept. The patients make excellent workmen, and once fully cognizant of their tasks are reliable. They are mechanical workmen, but are consistent. Time prevented a visit to the occupational therapy department, where patients are re-educated, and only the outdoor activities could be observed. Yesterday was one of perfect weather, warm sunshine keeping the temperature at just that right point. It was a typical autumn day. The patients, garbed in blue overalls, worked with apparent contentment, many of them smoking pipes which a poet would have called peaceful. Women patients were sitting on benches near the buildings, some in groups, others alone. Others sat or lay on the ground, dozing in the warm sunshine. Following the trip the newspaper men were driven to Dr. Trovillon's home, the former Rodgers homestead. In the drawing room, where the party sat before luncheon, is furniture formerly in the old Governor's Mansion at Springfield. In a parlor was a picture of the bouquet of flowers presented Dr. Trovillion by employees when he became head of the local institution, painted by the artist-patient, whose paintings attracted such wide attention. The institution impresses one as a place where inmates are given work, not too arduous, but enough to occupy their attention and wherever possible, in the line of work which is their bent. By this means their minds are occupied, their existence as near normal as seems possible for persons in their mental condition. This, of course, results in the saving of money for the state. Production is increasing yearly, and the work which makes the lot of the demented more bearable, produces gratifying economic results. In the wards are those persons not permitted outside, senile cases of persons so old as to need constant care. This is the "other side" of the hospital, where one's pity is aroused. Time prevented the newspaper men visiting the wards. At the hospital today are more than 700 patients. The institution will grow until its capacity is 2,500. That has been the policy in Illinois. Several new buildings, half-completed, were halted by labor difficulties. Blocks are on the way now for the industrial buildings which the hospital itself will build.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 10, 1919
The Telegraph published the story that Dr. Zeller had offered to supply wood to the city of Alton, collected by the insane patients at the Alton State Hospital. Already he said they had gathered up much wood and cut down trees. The Fox Film Co., which issues a news weekly, sent a camera man to Alton today and is watching....[unreadable].


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 5, 1920
The State of Illinois will begin at once preparations for erecting a $500,000 addition to the Alton State hospital. W. J. Lindstrom, assistant state architect, was in Alton today, authorized to get the work started. Mr. Lindstrom said that the first work to be done will be the making of concrete block out of cement, sand and crushed stone. The plans for the addition to the state hospital are practically completed, and about all that remains to be done is to select the places whereon the buildings will stand. The plans call for six "cottages" capable of housing 100 patients each, an addition to the dining room and kitchen, the erection of two tubercular buildings, and a hospital building. The plans of the building call for a much simpler style of external architecture and more comfort inside than is found in the other buildings on the grounds. It is said that Dr. G. A. Zeller, the managing officer, has never been pleased with the use of too much ornament on the outside of the buildings and neglecting the interior facilities for handling patients. In the simpler architecture it is taken that Dr. Zeller has come off victorious for his pet hobby. Mr. Lindstrom says that the state will furnish all the cement and the face bricks for this job, also the crushed stone.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 18, 1920
Another tragedy of the war, the fourth of its kind in four months, was brought out in the Probate Court at Edwardsville today, when Robert W. Vaupel was appointed conservator for his son, Robert M. Vaupel. The younger Vaupel was a soldier in France and was shell shocked. He lost his memory and has not regained it. Though possessing all his physical faculties and apparently his mental faculties, he has no memory. He was at first in a federal hospital and later was sent to the Alton State Hospital by the government. He has $400 cash, so far as is known. It has not yet been determined if he holds an insurance policy. There have been four cases of shell-shocked soldiers, who were mentally defective, in the Circuit Court, in as many months.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 19, 1920
Charles Fitton, who was the first patient to be accepted by the Alton State Hospital, was killed by a C. B. & Q. freight train at Woods Station about midnight Monday. The body which was badly mangled by the wheels of the train was carried to Brighton, and later was brought back to Alton by a passenger train. It was identified by Dr. Zeller, superintendent of the institution. Dr. Zeller said Fitton was Number 1 at the hospital, having been the first inmate received after the institution was opened. He escaped from the home some time Monday, Dr. Zeller said, and apparently had wandered to Woods Station. No record of Fitton's connections is available at the hospital, Dr. Zeller said, except that he had told attendants he was born in England and had worked as a coal miner there. He was about 45 years old.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 14, 1921
Dr. George A. Zeller will turn over the management of the Alton state hospital tomorrow to Dr. C. E. Trovillion, who has been appointed as his successor, and the day following Dr. Zeller and his wife will depart for Peoria, where he will take charge as managing officer of the state hospital there. In leaving Alton, Dr. Zeller asked that the Telegraph make public the following expression of appreciation of the consideration shown by the people in the vicinity of the state hospital while he was putting in effect there his theory of non-restraint. Only the thought of returning to the scenes of my childhood and my life's activities compensates me for leaving the charming and intellectual atmosphere of Alton. In Peoria I take charge of an institution three times as large as this, which I also built. I came here a stranger, in a sense, and my work was a new one to this community. The advent of a large population of insane people under conditions of freedom not thought possible a generation ago caused consternation and unwarranted fear. I am happy to say that there were big broad-minded men in Alton, who dismissing personal inconvenience, rose to the occasion and took a stand for the broader humanity that vouchsafes the greatest good to the greatest number. Their support at a critical period in the history of this institution not only guaranteed its uninterrupted operation, but made it possible to secure the half million-dollar appropriation for its extension and enlargement. The seven buildings at present under construction are now the largest factor in solving the unemployment situation in and about Alton. The institution will continue to grow. By statute its ultimate population is fixed at 5,000, a number never yet reached by any of the other state hospitals. Its influence will grow and as contemplated improvements are carried out, it will attract thousands of visitors. Already it is beginning to claim the attention of public officials in other states, and a number have been here of late, all expressing their unqualified endorsement of its policies, but regretting that public opinion in their respective communities had not reached the stage where their introduction and application is possible. In leaving, I desire to express my sincere gratitude to the press of Alton. The papers have been most helpful. The have never exploited our misfortunes and shortcomings, but have stood by in a manly, helpful way and are entitled to the fullest measure of credit in building up the Alton State Hospital.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 26, 1922
An inquest will be held tomorrow afternoon at the grounds of the old Culp school to discuss the subject of the cause of the recent destruction of the school house by fire. Last week the building caught fire late at night and was burned before anything could be done to save it. The Telegraph has been informed that Dr. C. E. Trovillion, managing officer of the Alton State Hospital, has been invited to attend and has promised to be there. The belief is held by some that patients from the state hospital were responsible for the fire. They say they had been hanging around the building a great deal, and that there is good reason for supposing that they set fire to the place. There was no one else in the neighborhood of the school and no one would have any reason for setting fire to the building. Indications are there will be another drive made to bring about a change in system of handling the hospital patients. The neighbors are still favorable to the abolishing of the non-restraint method of handling insane people in the hospital and out of the meeting ground tomorrow afternoon may come some important developments. The incident at the W. B. Sinclair place last week has added to the strength of the convictions of the people in the neighborhood that something ought to be done to reduce the nuisance of hospital patients wandering at large.


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, July 21, 1922
The directors of the Culp school district have another claim against the state of Illinois for incendiarism on the part of nomadic patients at the state hospital. Last night an outbuilding on the grounds where the burned school house had stood was destroyed by fire. Patients of the state hospital were seen around the place and leaving there at the time the fire broke out, so it is regarded as a proper charge to make that hospital patients who are at large started the fire. One of the members of the committee in charge of the interests of the Culp school said today that a claim of $2,500 had been filed with the state Court of Claims. Attorney General Brundage had written to the committee saying that the State of Illinois, being a sovereign state, cannot be sued. Any claim against the state must be filed with the Court of Claims, investigated by that body, and if favorably viewed, is recommended to the Legislature's good graces for an appropriation to pay the claim. There is no recourse if the claim is disallowed by the court of claims or later by the Legislature. The school directors will insist on the responsibility of the state of Illinois for the destruction of the school house, inasmuch as it is believed certain that wandering insane people from the state hospital did the job. They regard it as conclusive in the light of the destruction of the outbuilding last night immediately after insane hospital patients were seen around and leaving the place. Too many matches in the possession of these patients is the cause of the fires, the neighbors say, and when it is stated that the neighbors are exceedingly nervous, it is putting it mildly.


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