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The 1950s - Early Life on the Farm

"The 1950s - Early Life on the Farm"

Early Expansions and Infrastructure

In 1951, just two years post-opening, Brook Lane Farm faced a surge in patient numbers that exceeded bed capacity. Responding dynamically, the construction of Westview, a new hospital wing, commenced and was completed in 1954. This expanded bed capacity to 38. Simultaneously, the lower area of an existing barn transformed into a recreational haven. By 1955, the cow stable metamorphosed into a serene sitting/library room named the Alcove. With an increased number of patients, the original farmhouse's dining capacity became insufficient. Consequently, a new kitchen and dining room building were constructed in 1956. The infrastructural enhancement continued in 1957 with the addition of an administrator's residence, aptly named the Pines. That same year, the Mennonite Advisory Committee envisioned a local board of directors for Brook Lane Farm.

Critical Roles

1958 witnessed the appointment of Dr. Gilles Morin as the first full-time psychiatrist, succeeding Helmut Prager. Dr. Morin's holistic approach, emphasizing the physical, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of mental health care, aligned more closely with Mennonite philosophy. In 1959, Brook Lane Farm underwent incorporation, establishing its local board of directors and adopting the name Brook Lane Farm Hospital. The Maples, a residence for staff members, and the barn's upper level transformed into an auditorium and occupational therapy shop also manifested in this transformative year.

Throughout the 1950s, the pivotal role of the Matron in Brook Lane Farm's daily operations was quite evident. Extending beyond traditional household responsibilities, Matrons oversaw the weekly schedule for kitchen staff. Their duties encompassed a spectrum of tasks, from cooking, baking, and dishwashing to gardening, canning vegetables, and planning patient involvement in the process. This collaborative effort culminated in substantial yields, with an annual production of beans, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, cherries, peaches, strawberries, and red beets. Notably, Matrons also undertook weekly trips to Hagerstown with the dietitian for essential purchases, fortifying the farm's sustenance and hospital supplies.

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