Agnews State Hospital, Men's Infirm Building, North Circle Drive near Avenue A, Santa Clara, Santa Clara County, CA
Significance: Building 9 is significant during the period from 1908 to 1941 as an integral component of the reconstruction of Agnews State Hospital in a pavilion plan. The 1907 design for the hospital symbolized not only a reconfiguration of buildings into smaller structures in a park-like setting, but an important change in the perspectives on and the treatment of patients. Agnews was the first mental facility in California to switch from the confinement and permanent housing of patients to humane treatment with the hope of release. Building 9, Building for the Infirm Male, represents the residential portion of the new plan. In keeping with the pavilion model, it was constructed as a small, specialized housing unit surrounded by grass and trees, and each room had ample windows to allow in light and air. Building 9 and its counterpart, Building 10, the Building for the Infirm Female, were the intermediary steps in a residential system that progressed from housing for patients with the most debilitating mental illnesses to those preparing to leave the hospital. In addition, Building 9 and the other structures from the 1907 plan are important as early attempts to use reinforced concrete as an earthquake and fire-resistant material.
Survey number: HABS CA-2710-I
Building/structure dates: 1908 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1984 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1998 Demolished