Badger Prairie Health Care Center

History of Badger Prairie Health Care Center

A facility has been located on the current property since 1854 when Dane County purchased 160 acres for a “poor farm.” A log house and later a stone building were constructed to serve both poor and mentally disabled. In the 1860s, Civil War orphans and widows were admitted. In the 1880s, the facility became part of the county hospital system which was developed to provide long-term care for people discharged from the state hospital system. In 1883, an Asylum building was erected to separate the poor from the disabled and in 1896 a leper house was built to care for Norwegian immigrants with leprosy.

In 1897, the county home got its 1st telephone and in 1900 a train connected the Asylum and home to downtown Madison. Additions were made to the Asylum in 1910, 1918, 1924 and 1960 with a final capacity of 460 residents. In 1953, a nursing home named Dane County Home West was built to house the 70 residents still living in the “old home” which was then torn down. The Asylum was renamed Dane County Home East. The 1971 population of Dane County Home East was 390. In 1974, public funding for county mental hospitals decreased and funding was transitioned to Title 19. In 1984, residents were no longer housed in the oldest parts of the old Asylum building and the maximum capacity of Home East became 184. In 1985, the County Board changed the name of Home East to Badger Prairie Health Care Center and made plans to close Home West. Home West was closed in 1985.

Since that time the population of Badger Prairie Health Care Center has gradually decreased as increasing emphasis has been placed on serving Dane County residents with disabilities in community settings. Currently Badger Prairie Health Care Center is licensed as a skilled nursing facility with a total capacity of 120 residents. The old Home East building was razed in 2011 after Dane County built a new state of the art building to house the residents of Badger Prairie Health Care Center.