Gillette State Hospital for Crippled Children, Saint Paul, Minnesota
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Gillette State Hospital for Crippled Children
|Saint Paul, Minnesota|
|Ramsey County, Minnesota|
|State/province:|| Minnesota |
|Founded by:||Dr. Arthur J. Gillette|
|Historic Function:||State Hospital|
|Notes:||First in the nation to provide free care to cripple children because of the work of Dr. Arthur GIllette|
Gillette Hospital was established by an act of the legislature (Laws 1897 c289) as the State Hospital for Indigent, Crippled, and Deformed Children, and named due to the efforts of its founder, Dr. Arthur J. Gillette, to entrust the state with the care of children with orthopedic disorders whose parents could not afford treatment. Dr. Gillette was appointed as chief surgeon, and Dr. James E. Moore as consulting surgeon. Dr. Arthur B. Ancker, chief administrator of the City and County Hospital, served as the superintendent of the division. By 1905 it was apparent that a separate, special institution was needed for the care of crippled children, and the legislature appointed a commission to investigate this need and the possibility of a new location for the hospital (Laws 1905 c78). The St. Paul Business League and Commercial Club, and certain other citizens of St. Paul donated land adjacent to Phalen Park, and it became the new site for the hospital in 1907 (Laws 1907 c81). Construction of a fresh-air sanatorium and educational and industrial school building was completed in 1913. Patients were transferred gradually to the new facility. In 1914, staff members included Dr. Gillette, as chief of staff, two orthopedic surgeons and an associate chief surgeon, a hospital superintendent, and a general head nurse. Many patients were confined to the hospital for several months or years; hence, an education program from kindergarten to post-high school was provided and the school was staffed accordingly. In 1925, as a memorial to Dr. Gillette, the hospital became known as the Gillette State Hospital for Crippled Children (Laws 1925 c61). In 1971, the name of the hospital was changed to the Gillette Children’s Hospital as a result of the diversity of cases being admitted (Laws 1971 c92). When the Board of Regents asked to be relieved of its responsibility toward the hospital, the State Board of Control assumed its management in 1905. Gillette was subject to the authority of the board until 1939, the Division of Public Institutions of the Social Security Department from 1939 to 1953, and the Rehabilitative Services Division of the Public Welfare Department from 1953 to 1973. In 1973, the Gillette Hospital Authority was established as a public corporation in the executive branch and a political subdivision of the state (Laws 1973 c540 s1). Currently, it is governed by the Gillette Hospital Board, consisting of the Commissioner of Public Welfare and six members appointed by the governor, with the consent of the senate.Because of the need for numerous facility modifications and alterations for safety and more efficient management, the Phalen Park site was vacated, and the hospital was moved in 1977 to the St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center (eventual successor to the City and County Hospital where Gillette started), where it has its own staff and administration. In 1979 the Phalen Park buildings were transferred to the city of St. Paul.
The State Hospital for Crippled and Deformed Children was originally built in St. Paul after the legislature authorized it in 1897. In 1911, the hospital movied to a location in Lake Phalen. In 1926, it was renamed the Gillette State Hospital for Crippled Children. In 1977, it became part of the Saint Paul Ramsey Medical Center. The complex at Lake Phalen in Saint Paul is now vacent and all but the Michael J. Dowling Memorial Hall (Built in 1924 by architect Clarence Johnson) have been demolished.
Memories and stories
In the 1960s Gillette Children's Hospital was at 1003 East Ivy Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 55106
- Minnesota Historical Society Angency History Record