12:20:2002 Entry: "Ann : Leper Messiahs"
Last night, Stan and Tim and I drove to the place where Stan works to take a walk in the prairie and enjoy the most incredible spring evening after dinner. Afterward, Stan wanted to see the historical marker by the side of the highway that in his five years of working there, he never read. We knew it would be a commemoration for the mass grave that is on the premises that contains the bodies of the patients from the mental hospital from the 1800s. On the grave marker, it referred to it as an asylum, and showed an etching of the old, Civil War-era historical part of the building (the part that is now hung up in historical red tape, thankfully, otherwise if the county had the money to tear it down and build new offices, it would be no longer in existence). But we were all very surprised at what else we read. Not only, according to the historical grave marker, did the mass grave contain the bodies of the patients from the "Asylum," but it also contained bodies of the residents of the "Poor Farm" and the "Leper Colony." I kid you not. First of all, I thought "the poor farm" or "the poor house" was just a phrase that people from my parents' generation liked to scare their kids with..."if you keep spending all your money on records, you'll end up in the poor farm." Guess there was some basis in that scare tactic. But Leper Colony? In Wisconsin? Lepers in Wisconsin? I didn't know leprosy was possible in a cold climate like this. Unfortunately, the etchings of the Poor Farm and the Leper Colony appear to have been buildings that are no longer in existence. I guess that's just as well for the Leper Colony buildings, which didn't look to be all that much of architectural import, but the Poor Farm building looked like it would make a nice historical building to have been saved. Stan says there's traces of foundations in the prairie where he suspects that the Leper Colony buildings might have been. You learn something new every day.
Ann, I agree.......first I ever heard there could have been a "leper colony" in Wisconsin. Where in Wisconsin were you looking at this?
(I'm in Milwaukee) Very intriguing, though. I might just ask Google to check it out for me.
Posted by Lorraine @ 05:04:2002:11:44 AM CST
Lorraine, I'm in Madison, and this place was right outside of Verona, which is a town just southwest of Madison. It's in Dane County. I did a cursory search on Google, but didn't find anything. I asked Stan if anyone at his job would know anything, and he said probably only the administrators, if that, which means it'd be impossible to find out anything since those people are in their little offices and don't mingle with the workers.
Maybe if they ever have a Wisconsin or Dane County historian on Wisconsin Public Radio, I'll call in and ask them about it.
Posted by Ann @ 05:04:2002:02:31 PM CST
There was also leper colonies in Great Britain, I watched something about it on Discovery the other day. I guess Great Britain has a much colder clima than Wisconsin.
Posted by Nico @ 05:06:2002:05:57 AM CST
Wow. Learn something new...
Posted by Ann @ 05:06:2002:08:53 AM CST