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Northern State Hospital

This campus was built in 1909 as a mental institution with a working farm and other production facilities that made it largely self-sufficient. Now part of it is a park that you can walk through to see a fascinating—and a little unsettling—piece of history.

Its square-face buildings once sat amid well-kept gardens and spacious lawns. The institution was partially self-sustaining, with patients cultivating the gardens and caring for the stock and poultry. The farm was so productive, it supplied not only Northern State, but other hospitals as well. It closed in 1973, and the old Mission style hospital buildings are still part of the present campus, although they are closed to the public and in various states of disrepair. Still run by the state, the property is now called the North Cascades Gateway Center.

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The Northern State Hospital site presents one of the Nation’s more unique cultural landscapes having a complex history as a designed and rural historic landscape. The Olmsted Brothers, internationally renowned landscape architects, master planned the institutional campus and agricultural lands and buildings. The state purchased the land for Northern State Hospital between 1909 and 1911 with the intent of starting a farm extension for Western State Hospital. By 1915 this...

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