Minnesota Security Hospital

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Coordinates: 44°18′29″N 93°58′56″W / 44.307958°N 93.982136°W / 44.307958; -93.982136 The Minnesota Security Hospital is a secure psychiatric hospital located in St. Peter, Minnesota. It serves people who have been committed by the court as mentally ill and dangerous.


In 1866, the Minnesota Legislature approved the building of a state hospital for the insane, hoping to reduce the growing amount of mentally ill people in jails throughout the state. They first had to find an area willing to deed 20 acres (8.1 ha) of land for the hospital. St. Peter leaders bought a 210-acre (85 ha) farm for $7,000 and lent it to the state. Its first patient checked in December 6, 1866. The hospital soon became overcrowded, so the state built 3 other facilities in Rochester, Fergus Falls, and Anoka. The St. Peter location remained the main hospital. Other hospitals also opened to reduce the population of patients but either closed or turned into retirement home for the elderly.

In 1911, the Asylum for Dangerous Insane officially opened on the campus of the St. Peter Hospital. The name was later changed to the Minnesota Security Hospital (MSH) in 1957.

In 1982, the current MSH building opened. The original hospital has since been destroyed.


Records documenting the population and activities in the security hospital, including admission and transfer book (1911-1938), admissions index (1911-1963), daily movement of population record, dangerous insane (1911-1913), and scrapbook (1937-1987) kept by longtime Medical Director Dr. Charles G. Sheppard are available for research use.