2304 South Galvin Avenue, Marshfield, WI
Status: Former Lunatic Asylum; Tunnel Section and Barn are all that’s Left of the Original Asylum Buildings; Completely Demolished Otherwise
Photos from Wisconsin Geneaology
In 1909 the Wood County Board approved a site over 600 acres in size in Marshfield for the building of a new insane asylum; at its largest, the site would occupy over 1,000 acres.
Construction was begun on the asylum in 1910 and completed in 1911. The building could hold 250 patients with a staff of 19. Patients were expected to work at the on site farm as therapy.
In 1938 the name was changed to Wood County Hospital. By the end of the 1960’s the laws were changing and it was no longer legal to use the patients as free labor; which made the hospital farm no longer viable financially.
This change in the laws also resulted in a change in direction of the treatment of the mentally ill. When they were no longer useful as free labor the direction changed to the actual treatment of their maladies. The “cures” ranged from the inhumane such as electro-shock therapy for everything to schizophrenia to truancy to the eventual development of the psychiatric drugs such as anti-psychotics.
By the early 1970’s the population had begun to seriously dwindle and the decision was made to build a new facility and focus on moving the patients back into the community. In 1974 all remaining patients were moved to the new hospital – Norwood Health Center on North Chestnut Avenue – and this site was closed down and locked up.
The buildings remained abandoned – and frequently trespassed in – until 2003 when the owner of the land began a 3 year project to demolish the entire site.
The site of the former asylum main building is now part of Marshfield Scrap.
Reports of paranormal activity date back to before the hospital was closed.
Apparitions of former patients and staff were seen both on the grounds and in the main building while the hospital was running; they were seen looking out of the empty windows when the facility was abandoned and now – very rarely – on the former grounds of the site and in the remaining part of the tunnel.
The most common apparition is that of a teenage girl with long dark hair.
One story says a man saw the face of the Devil in the Boiler Room but when he went in to confront the Devil he never returned. Yah that one reeks of an Urban Legend.
Disembodied voices, unexplained noises and EVPs captured on tape are very common at the site both before and after demolition. A photo was taken on site that looks very much like a phantom face coming right up to the camera.
According to the Marshfield Scrap website the following activity is still reported: a bell in their front office that is set up to ding whenever a car enters the property will go off on its own; they also say strange images will show on the CCTV system set up on site; they have ongoing issues with their computers and problems with interference on the phone lines and excessive lightning strikes.