The 1975 American drama-comedy film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” became famous not just for the numerous Academy awards it took home but also because of its filming locations. In fact, one of these locations got even more popular over the years following the issues it faced.
The Eerie Mental Hospital
The Oregon State Mental Hospital, specifically the J Building, was the place where most of the movie’s scenes were shot.
Located at 2600 Center Street in Salem, Oregon, the mental center for men and women witnessed how the character of lead actor Jack Nicholson unfolded.
The psychiatric facility hogged the headlines in 2004 when it was learned that around 3,600 urns of remains of their past patients who were cremated were found to be abandoned inside of it, particularly in one portion of the said building where filming was made.
The nook tagged as the “Room of Forgotten Souls” caught the attention of the then-Senate president of Oregon Peter Courtney, who really fought for the budget allocation for a new state hospital.
This discovery opened up an opportunity for the public facility to change the way it treated mental health concerns. His voice in the state’s legislative body also paved way for the establishment of two new hospitals, replacing the more than 120-year-old filming location of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
Courtney passed a legislation as well to give the state the authority to publish the names of those patients whose urns were in the hospital. Accordingly, his purpose was for “reunification” with their respective families. And for the unclaimed, a memorial would house them.
A year after, it was reported that the attic of the mental facility’s J Building was “falling apart,” making it look even more creepy despite the fact that it still housed some patients.
Based on the released photos of the hospital, one could feel its spooky state that it was described as “creepier than any haunted house.”
In the meantime, another report revealed that the eerie atmosphere of the place had been there since the 1960s. It was noted that “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, which was based on the 1962 novel by Ken Kessey, opted to adopt the setting of 1963 depicting the condition of its filming location as well as the old way of treating mental illness during the said era.
Completion of New Facility, Building of Museum
The year 2012 marked a remarkable phase in the history of the so-called “insane asylum” in the state of Oregon. Two major milestones happened on this year.
First, a state-of-the-art hospital, with 620 beds, replaced the “dilapidated” century-old mental health treatment facility. Second, the Museum of Mental Health was built.
Despite being located within the state-owned hospital, the 2,-500-square foot museum is not run by the government. Rather, it is managed by private individuals who are committed to sharing the history of Oregon State Hospital. These individuals are volunteers who make their operation possible through community donations and some grants.
The history of Oregon’s oldest mental hospital, which is still operating until now, is truly rich that a museum is there to continue sharing every interesting story it has.
The Fishing Location
Aside from the controversial hospital, parts of the film were taken as well at Depoe Bay on I-101 in Lincoln County, still in Oregon. The world’s smallest harbor served as the location for the fishing trip scenes of the movie.
Today, this filming location of the “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, which is 12 miles north of Newport, is known as the “Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast.” As such, it is guaranteed that a visit to this tourist destination will make one’s trip worthwhile while having a face-to-face encounter with the gray whales.
Written by: Adam Durnham