Insane Asylum/Mendota Mental Health Institute

301 Troy Drive
In 1858 Leonard J. Farwell donated the land, an oak savanna, to be used as a hospital. In 1860 the “State Hospital for the Insane” was opened to accommodate 600 patients.

The first mental hospital in Wisconsin. The name has changed over the years to reflect it’s role and the perception on mental illness. It started out as an "Asylum", became Mendota State Hospital in 1935, before it’s current name of Mendota Mental Health Institute in 1974.

On the grounds are several groups of Native American Indian mounds, some dating back 2,000 years. These are some of the finest and largest effigy mounds in the world and include two panther, two bear and a rare deer effigy along with conical and linear mounds. One bird effigy mound with a wingspan of 624 feet is the largest of its kind in the world. Archeologists have found Native American village sites and traces of ancient corn hills.

Portions of the facility are included in the Wisconsin Memorial Hospital Historic District.

The notorious Ed Gein was housed here until his death in 1984.

Old Building “Insane Hospital”     816 Troy Dr.     Opened July 14, 1860     Architect Stephen Shipman

Other Buildings

Memorial Walkway

American Indian burial mounds