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Oregon State Hospital is the oldest psychiatric hospital in Oregon. It was designed in 1883 and opened October 23, 1883. It is still operational to this day. It was originally supposed to be named the Oregon Hospital for the insane, but they later changed the name to reflect that it was a place of healing, rather an insane asylum. This building housed many different techniques (which are not all used there today). Electroconvulsive therapy, lobotomies, and hydrotherapy were some of the techniques used on the patients. There were many patients that passed on the grounds throughout this buildings' history. Some of these patients remains were never claimed, prompting the documentary “Library of Dust” to come out in 2011.

Oregon State Hospital

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Entrance to the Oregon State Hospital

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Side View of the Oregon State Hospital

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Oregon State Hospital was originally named Oregon State Insane Asylum. This hospital, established in 1883, was intended for psychiatric patients and their treatment. This "treatment" included things such as lobotomies, electroshock therapy, and many more, sometimes disturbing, "treatments." Many individuals died on the premises and most of their remains have not been claimed to this day. Over a thousand people were committed at a time. The hospital had reached overcrowding, so the architects built new wings (especially during the small pox pandemic) to house these new patients. Conditions at the time were poor for the patients as well as the staff. This resulted in many mishaps. One mishap that is written in their records, for example, is the accidental poisoning of the patients. This poisoning resulted in some of the many deaths that occurred on the grounds. There have been thousands of mysterious deaths surrounding the hospital. This prompted a documentary in 2011 called "The Library of Dust." This documentary was for all the patients whos remains have never been claimed.

Bach, Jonathan. “Potential for Buried Bodies Stalls Housing Plans at Oregon State Hospital North Campus.” Statesman Journal, Statesman Journal, 22 May 2019, 

Annotation: This website is an inside scoop on the stories from the old Oregon State Hospital. There has been a potential for buried bodies on the premises where they were trying to build. This article talks about the different locations where the deceased might be buried.

Farnstrom, Mary. Puzzle Box Horror, The Gruesome History of the State Hospital in Salem, OR. June 24th 2020. Accessed January 29th 2021.

Annotation: This source provides a detailed backstory on the Oregon State Hospital. It gives the demographics of the hospital, along with many of the gruesome backstories of some of the inmates.

The Library of Dust. Timoner, Ondi. Performed by Rick Attig and Mary Ellen Mark. United States. 2011. (Film)

Annotation: This documentary goes in depth on the Oregon State Hospital. The film discusses all of the cremations that occurred on the location and all of the unclaimed remains of the people admitted. This documentary goes in depth to provide a deeper understanding of what went on behind the walls of the Oregon State Hospital.

Oregonian/OregonLive, Therese Bottomly | The. “Photos of Abandoned Oregon Mental Hospital 'Creepier than Any Haunted House'.” Oregonlive, 13 July 2018, 

Annotation: This website provides photos of the Oregon State Hospital and its contents. It displays the many pictures with captions of what the picture is showing. These captions provide numerous details of why the pictures are displayed and what is important about them.

“Oregon Secretary of State.” State of Oregon: State Archives - Oregon Historical Record Types, 

Annotation: This website offers the reader the records of who was at the hospital and how/when those persons passed away.

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