Contributed by Byron Olson, transcribed by Stan


[Table of Contents]  [Part 1]  [Part 2]  [Part 3]


Clark County Hospital and Home Trustees


W. J. Rush Neillsville, Wisconsin . . . . .1922 - 1957
John Verkuilen Neillsville, Wisconsin . . . . .1922 - 1924
Theodore Thompson Curtiss, Wisconsin . . . . .1922 - 1951
Kenneth Andrews Colby, Wisconsin . . . . .1924 - 1944
Claude Whitney Colby, Wisconsin . . . . .1944 - 1966
A. E. Stadler Owen, Wisconsin . . . . .1951 - 1956
John Peterson Neillsville, Wisconsin . . . . .1956 - 1965
Chris Christopherson Owen, Wisconsin . . . . .1966 - 1969
John Balcer Thorp, Wisconsin  . . . . 1958 -
W. H. Allen Neillsville, Wisconsin  . . . . 1965 -
Edwin Krause Curtiss, Wisconsin  . . . . 1969 -



Left to right (standing): Norman Freedlund, Mike Kovatch, Ray Hetzel, Arthur Bushman, Arthur Ackerman, Vernon Loos, Julius Klapatauskas, James Strieter, Lawrence Thompson, Joseph M. Keating, Willard Putman, George L. Schmitz, Clarence Wegner, Jacob Hoesly, Joe Hennlich, Steve Franckiewicz, George Zuehlke, Sr., Everett A. Kauffman, Richard Martens, Victor Skaleski, Ray J. Conzemius, Frank Degenhardt, Frank L. Nikolay, Clarence Geary, Arthur Karow.

(Seated): H. H. Quicker, Vice-Chairman; H. R. Baird, Chairman; Vahla Pierce, County Clerk.


Clark County Superintendents through 1972 were: M. H. Duncan (1922 - 1936), M. G. Duncan (1936 - 1945), Calvin Mills (1945 - 1970), Arlyn A. Mills (1971- ).




 The Clark County Board appointed a committee in 1917 for the purpose of exploring the feasibility of constructing a county asylum. Members of the committee were the Messrs. Rush, Wilding, Brooks, Royer, and Weaver. Mr. Royer was selected chairman. The committee's report at a special meeting of the County Board on April 15, 1918, was read by Mr. Wilding and was favorable to the construction.


Mr. Braebner and Mr. M. J. Tappins, members of the State Board of Control, addressed the Board in regard to asylum conditions in the State, and the need for a facility in this area. In the fall session, it was resolved to accept the option of the State. Material and labor conditions at this time were affected by World War i. The Board decided to begin construction when these conditions returned to normal.


The Asylum Committee visited the Chippewa County Asylum, among others, in October of 1918. They found them to meet their expectations, as these institutions were filled to capacity and making a financial profit.


On April 17, 1919, the Board resolved that it accept the proposal of the State Board of Control and build an asylum building to be commenced in 1920. Judge 0. W. Schoengarth addressed the Board in regard to the number of insane and feebleminded patients in Clark County and the number committed to institutions each year.


The Chairman of the County Board appointed the following to serve on the Committee on Options for a site for the county asylum: Supervisors Royer, Jacques, Brooks, Young and Verkuilen. Their responsibility was to procure options, including price, on a parcel of land not less than 640 acres, suitable for the erection of a county asylum and for agricultural purposes. In August of 1919, the Committee met on the proposed sites; two near Neillsville, Wisconsin; two near Bright, Wisconsin; and two near Owen, Wisconsin. They asked the State Board of Control to look at the sites to see if they were acceptable.


The State Board of Control examined the six proposed sites. The Bright farm sites were found undesirable from the standpoint of elevation, fertility and drainage. The other four sites were acceptable. The examiner pointed out that Taylor, Price, Ashland, Rusk, Sawyer and Washburn Counties are north and northwest of Clark County and that these counties did not have an asylum. The Owen site had direct rail connections, which would provide convenient transportation for patients from these counties. After a careful study of all sites, it was unanimously agreed by the Committee to recommend to the County Board that the location be either, or both, of the sites near Owen.


There was a slight conflict between the northern and southern parts of the County concerning the site of the asylum. The southern part of the County conceded, rationalizing that a northern site was a more desirable location to serve patients north of Clark County and the surrounding area.


On December 10, 1919, the Building Committee traveled to Madison to confer with the State Board as to the kind of asylum desirable for Clark County. They also inquired about the employment of a competent architect. The compensation for architects was found to be 5% of the construction costs (3% for plans and 2% for overseeing). After inquiring about the experience and reputation of various architects, the Committee selected the firm of Claude and Stark of Madison. The State Board also suggested the hiring of an experienced insane asylum superintendent to assist in directing the preparation of plans, construction of buildings and preparing the asylum farm for occupancy. It was important that the farm be in proper productive condition by the time the buildings were completed so that it could meet the needs of the asylum and have on hand the needed provisions for the first year.


Mr. M. H. Duncan, for many years the Superintendent of the Marathon County Asylum, was highly recommended. The Committee, on this advice, went to Wausau to inspect the Asylum and entered into an agreement with Mr. Duncan.


In a special session of the County Board held on December 18, 1919, it was agreed upon to purchase the recommended sites and issue bonds in the amount of $100,000. A tax was levied on all the assessed taxable property in the County to provide for payment of the principal and interest on the bonds. 415 acres were purchased from Mr. C. A. Johnson for $45,600, and 650 acres were purchased from Mr. Niran Withee for $58,000. This resulted in a total of 1,065 acres of land purchased at a cost of $103,600. The County Board vote on the above action was 32 for and 12 against. On January 2, 1920, the transaction was completed. The Committee made arrangements for a sidetrack from the Minneapolis-St. Paul & Saulte Ste. Marie Railroad Company and began clearing the right of way.


Mr. M. H. Duncan took charge as Superintendent on March 1, 1920. Mrs. Duncan became Matron. Mr. Duncan brought with him twelve patients from Wausau to help with the work. Farm implements and machinery were purchased from Mr. Niran Withee. It was agreed that just the foundation and the basement of the main building be constructed during 1920. The recommendation was made that $100,000 be raised for this construction. The above authorization was granted by the County Board on June 2, 1920.





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