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Northern State Hospital

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 extension had formally emerged as one of the state’s three main facilities for caring for state citizens afflicted with psychological ailments. The site presents a remarkable integration of mental health care and agricultural functions. Several of the state’s more notable architects designed buildings on the site.

Farming activities on the site included a piggery, poultry flocks, dairy operations, maintaining a herd of beef cattle, a flock of sheep, propagating plants for farming, cultivating land for vegetables and pasture, raising a fruit orchard, and processing the associated crops and animals for storage and consumption throughout the year.


Ca. 1955 bird’s eye view of Northern State Hospital, near Sedro-Woolley.

Source: Washington State Historical Society

1937 aerial view of Northern State Hospital. The core institutional campus is at center with the former agricultural buildings located in the upper right.

Source: Skagit County.

Undated historic view of a typical ward corridor at Northern State Hospital.

Source: Washington State Archives

Undated historic view showing the Olmsted Brothers designed landscaped grounds at Northern State Hospital.

Source: Washington State Archives