St. Peter State Hospital Museum

    In 1866 the Minnesota State Legislature allocated funds for a permanent asylum in the state along with a regulatory board, the Board of Trustees, and six commissioners in charge of finding a location.  The 210 acre farm south of the town was purchased by the community and given to the state.  The asylum started with a capacity of 50 patients, which the trustees estimated to be more than sufficient.  It was quickly realized that expansion would be required to meet the demand for patients.  In 1876 a new facility capable of accommodating 500 patients, though they still needed to keep the "temporary" facilities open because of overcrowding.  By 1892 the hospital had expanded to 810 acres and became largely self-sufficient, even producing its own food.  Despite this rapid expansion, the hospital was unable to keep up with demand and remained overcrowded through the rest of the 19th and early 20th centuries. 
    At its peak in 1957, the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center housed 3,000 patients.  By the 1960s, "deinstitutionalization" initiatives strove to move people back to their communities and changed the hospital's role to a treatment center rather than an asylum.  The hospital is still operational and currently houses 380 patients.
    In addition to the museum, the second cemetery used by the hospital is located on County Road 99 (currently called Resurrection Lutheran Cemetery).  The first cemetery used wood crosses for markers, which were destroyed in a fire.  The location of that cemetery is still unknown.

Site Address: 100 Freeman Drive, St. Peter, MN 56082
Phone: 507-985-2249

Open by appointment
Note: Appointments must be made at least two days in advance.