Oregon State Hospital Historic District, Oregon State Insane Asylum

Exterior view of a long building.

Quick Facts

Roughly bounded by D Street, Park Avenue, 24th Street, and Bates Drive, Salem, Oregon
Architecture, Health/Medicine, Social History
National Register of Historic Places

The Oregon State Hospital Historic District is historically significant and is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A for its association with the evolution of philosophies and policies related to mental health care in Oregon during the period of significance. The district is also architecturally significant and is eligible under Criterion C for its concentration of distinctive architectural styles and excellent examples of institutional buildings designed by various prominent architects in Oregon. The Oregon State Hospital Historic District retains the seven aspects of integrity that describe its historic and architectural significance. Its location has not changed. The design of the site, spatial relationships between the primary hospital structures and housing units, the landscaping, and the architectural character of the buildings, reflects the historic period of significance. The design for the Oregon State Hospital was based on the Kirkbride model.


The setting of the hospital was originally outside the city limits to protect both the residents of the hospital from the distractions and influences of the outside world as well as the citizens of Salem. As the hospital has grown with the construction of additional buildings to meet the changes needs of the patients and staff, which reflects the character and growth of the Hospital during the period of significance, so has the area around it, which has been developed with residential housing and commercial enterprises. The primary materials used in the construction of the buildings, and the workmanship and quality of construction illustrate the aesthetic principles as they changed through 75 years of growth of the hospital complex. The feeling or historic sense of the site also has been retained by the campus setting with mature trees, lawns, and open spaces between buildings. The aspect of association has also been retained as the hospital has been continually used up to the present-day as the primary residence for those with severe mental disorders in Oregon.


Last updated: July 28, 2017