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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Jim Kershner’s This Day in History

From our archives, 100 years ago

The final report of a special state Senate investigative committee harshly criticized a construction decision made at the Medical Lake insane asylum, as Eastern State Hospital was called in 1915.

A new home and school for children was built not on the grounds of the larger asylum, but a mile south, near what is today known as Lakeland Village.

This new home and school “for the feeble-minded,” in the jarring phrase of the day, could have been “managed much cheaper if erected on the old site,” the report said. Furthermore, it would have been better for the children, who would have had a “natural playground and access to the (Medical) lake beach” and would not have been “exposed to the view of the public passing along the county road.”

However, this criticism came too late. A number of patients were already installed at the new home and there they would stay. Yet the report recommended that any new buildings be built on the old asylum grounds. The Senate committee also recommended that steps should be taken to prevent “another such departure from the intent of an appropriation statute.”

In the same report, the committee cleared the Cheney Normal School (Eastern Washington University) from all alleged construction improprieties.

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