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Minnesota Agencies

Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Saint Peter Regional Treatment Center

Also known as:
Saint Peter State Hospital
Active dates:1866 -
Function: Hospital for the treatment of persons suffering from mental illness in the State of Minnesota.
History: The St. Peter State Hospital was Minnesota's first institution for the care of the insane. The establishment of such an institution was authorized by the legislature which, in 1866, created a three-member commission to determine a permanent location for a state hospital for the insane. The St. Peter (Nicollet County) site was selected in July of 1866, and the hospital accepted its first patients in December of that year; permanent buildings were not completed, however, until 1876.

In 1907 the legislature authorized establishment of an asylum for the dangerous insane, to be operated in conjunction with the St. Peter State Hospital; separate buildings for this institution (now known as the Minnesota Security Hospital) were completed in 1911. In 1907 there were also established at the Fergus Falls, Rochester, and St. Peter state hospitals separate "detention hospitals" to which persons could be provisionally committed until the superintendent of the institution certified that the person either was not insane or was, indeed, a "fit subject" for the state hospital.

By 1911 St. Peter also had separate facilities or wards for the care of the tubercular insane. A course of study in psychiatric nursing was offered at St. Peter starting in the 1890s. The hospital was managed by a board of trustees until the establishment in 1901 of the State Board of Control of State Institutions (or, simply, Board of Control), which was given financial and administrative jurisdiction over all the state hospitals, asylums, and penal institutions. The institution supervisory function passed to the Public Institutions Division of the Department of Social Security in 1939 (the Board of Control was simultaneously abolished), and to the Medical Services Division of the Department of Public Welfare in 1953. After the mid-1970s this function was performed by the Bureau of Residential Services of the Department of Public Welfare.

In 1985 the institution's name was changed to St. Peter Regional Treatment Center (Executive Order No. 85-17). (Information above taken from Minnesota Historical Society Placeography records, 9/15/10).

1987 Minn. Laws Chap. 384 directed the Office of the Revisor of Statutes to change the name from St. Peter State Hospital to St. Peter Regional Treatment Center in the next publication of the statutes.

1993 Minn. Laws First Special Sesion Chap. 1 Art. 7 (pertaining to Regional Treatment Centers) Sec. 25 Subd. 2 states in part:

"The commissioner of human services shall act with the advice of the medical policy directional committee on mental health in the appointment and removal of the chief executive officers of the following institutions: Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center, Ah-Gwah-Ching Center, Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center, St. Peter Regional Treatment Center and Minnesota Security Hospital . . ."
Agency heads: Medical superintendents: Agency heads: Samuel Shantz, 1866-1868; Cyrus K. Bartlett, 1868-1893; Harry Ashton Tomlinson, 1893-1912; R. M. Phelps, 1912-[1925]; George H. Freeman, [1927-1950]; Burton P. Grimes, [1950-1975].; Stewards or business managers:; George Dryer, [1871]-1888; Charles F. Brown, 1888-[1902]; William N. Crane, 1902-[1946]; Esther Vogel, [1946-1950]; Kent J. Hawkins, [1950-1960]; William Lightburn (administrator and superintendent), 1963-[1978]; James Littig (acting), [1978-1980]; Joseph W. Solien, 1980-[1985]; William L. Pedersen, [1985]- .
News clippings and documents. Agencies Notebook Collection, 1978.
Record last updated: 02/24/2015

All information on this group from the Library’s collection of agency notebooks has been digitized. These materials are incorporated into the “documents/articles” section of the record. Please contact a librarian with any questions. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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