Monday, October 17, 2016

What Lies Beneath?

Quarry Hill Nature Center

The question, "What lies beneath?" is very appropriate here. At the very top of a wooded hill in Rochester, Minnesota, there's an abandoned limestone quarry surrounded by a restored oak Savannah. Eight miles of trails zig zag its perimeter. But it's really what lies beneath that make it interesting. 

The 329 acre park was once part of Rochester's historic state hospital grounds. The hospital was built in 1877.


This fireplace opens its gaping mouth over a former landfill for the hospital. The fireplace site became a picnic area for patients. Click to enlarge the placards for the rest of the story. The placards do most of the talking today.

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This 250 foot cave was used for food storage. It was dug by a crew of hospital patients. The leader of the crew, Thomas Coyne was a poet. He carved lines of poetry into the soft rock walls. If you visit during the right time, you can take a guided tour. It was rather cavernous and creepy when we peered inside. Trust me. 

Inside the cave...

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2,019 grave sites dot the hillside below the Quarry. The park is in the process of placing new grave markers on all of the burial sites. But, a few old markers remain. They rise above the soil like spooky sentinels. 


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You can see some of the old markers here.  Eroded and lonely.


There was an occasional marker that was still legible. Ella must have had an unfortunate life. 

The state hospital was an asylum. 


Treatment of mental diseases at the hospital before the 1920s consisted mainly of keeping patients occupied with work and recreation, and restraining violent patients. Many patients worked on the hospital’s 500-acre farm. Plays, concerts, and dances were put on for recreational purposes. In the late 1940s insulin and electroshock treatments were common, and in the 1950s lobotomies were used on some patients. Throughout the hospital’s history the use of drugs became more extensive. The hospital served as a surgical center for many of the other state institutions, as well as for Rochester State Hospital. The Mayo Clinic provided doctors free of charge, and the hospital absorbed the cost of supplies.

It made me wonder if those lost souls still wander...

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11 comments:

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

It is a sad reminder of how those with mental illness were treated for so many decades. Interesting post.

carol l mckenna said...

Fascinating post ~ so historical and wonderful photography ~ thanks.

Wishing you a happy week ~ ^_^

Lady Fi said...

What a cool place!

Alycia Quiltygirl.com said...

Fascinating.... I always wonder what their loves must have been like - and how different it would be ( or not) now... Thanks for sharing!

likeschocolate said...

Very cool! Thanks for sharing!

Jan Robinson said...

I do however find the fireplace in the landfill spooky! Great capture.

Jackie and Joel Smith said...

A haunting sort of place but yet a most interesting one as well. Wonderful post!

NC Sue said...

Such a sad existence for poor Ella. I sometimes forget how fortunate I am. Thank you for the reminder, and thank you for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/10/springtime-memories.html

Ruth Rieckehoff said...

This is very interesting place. The food storage cave had to be one of the most original pantries. I imagine the many stories and legends associated with this place.

Corinne Vail said...

This really sets the mood for October, just a little spooky.

Donald Urness said...

I wonder if there are any ghosts?