Editorial: Celebrate today at the WRTC campus
"The times they are a-changin'" -- Bob Dylan Today is a day of celebration at the Willmar Regional Treatment Center -- the past, the present and the future. Current and former employees, patients, community officials and the public are invited to...
"The times they are a-changin'" -- Bob Dylan
Today is a day of celebration at the Willmar Regional Treatment Center -- the past, the present and the future.
Current and former employees, patients, community officials and the public are invited to a celebration from 2-4 p.m. A program at 2:30 p.m. will include a slide show of historic photos. Tours of the MinnWest Technology Campus will also be available.
On April 22, 1907, the Minnesota Legislature authorized the State Hospital Farm for Inebriates in Willmar and in 1909 the Tallman Stock Farm of Willmar was purchased for the hospital farm site. The first patients arrived Dec. 26, 1912, and started treatment.
In March 1917, the Willmar site was renamed the Willmar State Asylum. Twenty years later, it was renamed Willmar State Hospital. And in 1985, the site was renamed Willmar Regional Treatment Center.
Through the past century, the Willmar site has evolved and changed with the times. Often the institution was at the forefront of the current science of treatment.
In 1950, doctors at the state hospital developed a new "holistic approach" to treat alcoholism, which became known as the Minnesota Model.
Later in the decade, a film called "The Human Side" was filmed primarily at the Willmar State Hospital. The movie addressed the nature and treatment of mental illness. The movie premiered in Willmar on July 11, 1957, with Gov. Orville Freeman present.
At its peak in the mid-1950s, the state hospital had a population of nearly 1,500 and employed more than 300. Thank you to all the current and past employees at the WRTC site.
To the patients visiting today, welcome back to Willmar. We hope your visit today at the WRTC site is pleasant and enjoyable.
More than 100 years after its founding, this Willmar site now has entered a new phase: the MinnWest Technology Center.
We hope that under the new technology campus ownership, the former state farm/state asylum/state hospital/regional treatment center site will continue contributing positively to the economy and community of Willmar and Kandiyohi County into its second century.