#126: Unveiling the Mysteries of Manteno State Hospital with Kankakee County Museum

Welcome to a captivating episode of Kankakee Podcast, where we delve into the enigmatic history of Manteno State Hospital. In collaboration with the Kankakee County Museum, we bring you exclusive insights into the once-thriving psychiatric facility’s intriguing past.

Exploring Manteno State Hospital: A Historical Journey

Manteno State Hospital, located in Illinois, played a pivotal role in mental health care from the mid-20th century until its closure in 1985. Join us as we unravel the layers of this institution’s rich history, from its early days to its transformation into a veterans’ home.

Insights from the Kankakee County Museum: A Conversation with Experts

Our episode features experts from the Kankakee County Museum, Jack Klasey and Jorie Walters, who provide unique perspectives and share captivating stories about Manteno State Hospital. They shed light on the hospital’s impact on the local community, detailing its transition from a mental health center to a veterans’ home.

Listen to first-hand accounts from individuals like Carol Gribac, who worked within the hospital, offering poignant stories about the patients, activities, and even daring escapes. Gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by both staff and residents during the hospital’s operation.

Kerstin Rust, a descendant with familial ties to Manteno State Hospital, shares a touching story about her great-grandmother’s experiences. Through her narrative, we gain a unique and personal perspective on the human side of the institution.

Jennifer Schnell, a nurse who served at Manteno State Hospital in the 1980s, offers valuable insights into the daily workings of the hospital. Discover the challenges faced by healthcare professionals and the compassionate care provided to patients.


Learn about the metamorphosis of the hospital grounds after its closure. The Kankakee County Museum team discusses the varied uses the land has seen, from industrial parks to a veterans’ home, and the subsequent development projects.

Explore the fate of the hospital’s iconic administration building, now home to a vintage museum set to open this spring. Discover how the museum plans to preserve the history of Manteno State Hospital and engage visitors with exhibits ranging from World War Two artifacts to antique toys.

Join us in unlocking the mysteries of Manteno State Hospital, a journey filled with history, personal narratives, and the resilience of a community. Don’t miss this compelling episode, which serves as a testament to the power of storytelling and the preservation of our collective past.

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One response to “#126: Unveiling the Mysteries of Manteno State Hospital with Kankakee County Museum”

  1. Loved this so much. I worked at the Veterans home for 25 years. And have lived in Manteno for 64 years. I always wanted to go through the tunnels but of course weren’t allowed. I remember when some of the patients would come to town. Lots of memories.