5/29/2013 MinneCulture

 

West Hills State School: A troubled past for the Owatonna orphanage

KFAI producer Dan Greenwood received a Page One Award from the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for this audio documentary. In it, he tells the story of the State-Run School for Dependent and Neglected Children, which opened in Owatonna, Minnesota in 1886.

For nearly 60 years the orphanage housed thousands of children, and during the Great Depression, was massively overcrowded. For some, the orphanage provided a safe haven, but for many others, beatings and neglect were commonplace. In this documentary, Greenwood talks with Harvey Ronglien--a former state-schooler who spent his entire childhood at the orphange--to learn about the dark and sordid past of the institution.

Since the 1990s, Harvey and his wife Maxine have worked with the city to create a museum honoring the children who lived there. Today the campus at West Hills is on the National Registry as a Historic District. For more information, visit orphanagemuseum.com.
 

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May 29, 2013

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