Hollidaysburg State Hospital
|Hollidaysburg State Hospital|
|Established||Sept 29, 1938 (As a PA State Hospital)|
|Current Status||Closed (as a mental health facility)|
|Building Style||Cottage Plan|
|Peak Patient Population||730 in 1957|
Hollidaysburg State Hospital opened in 1904, as the Blair County Hospital for Mental Diseases. Built on what had been 150 acres of farmland. The original red brick building survives as the Old Administration Building, now home for the Pennsylvania National Guard's 28th Infantry Division Band.
On September 29, 1938 the state took control of the hospital as part of the "Full State Care Act". The legislature (Act #53) assumed responsibility for eight of the thirteen existing county public mental hospitals, the other five hospitals were closed. The facility was renamed to Hollidaysburg State Hospital in 1941. But it was not until after World War II that it began the expansion that resulted in the building of Rush Hall, Neil Hall, and Sommer Hall as the main housing and administration units of the complex. The grounds doubled in size, to 326 acres.
As the care of the mentally ill changed from custodial care to outpatient care, the patient population dwindled until a decision was made in the 1970s to shut it down.
The Department of Military Affairs was looking to expand its veterans homes system. At the time, the Soldiers' and Sailors' Home at Erie, opened in 1886, was the only facility available. The decision to shut down Hollidaysburg was reversed and it was transferred to Military Affairs in September 1977. Five residents were admitted to the facility in June of that year on a pilot program.
Renovations to Neil Hall and Rush Hall were completed in 1982 at a cost of $2.8 million for Rush Hall and $3.9 million for Neil Hall. Rush Hall, built in 1953, is now the administration building and nursing care facility. It was renamed Eisenhower Hall after the five-star general and president, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Neil Hall, built in 1949, was renamed MacArthur Hall after the former five-star general, Douglas MacArthur. It is now the domiciliary care building. On April 10, 1992, the old Sommer Hall, built in 1954, officially became Arnold Hall, named after the five-star general and native Pennsylvanian, Henry H. (Hap) Arnold, who is considered the father of the Air Force. That $10.2 million project completed the conversion of the former state hospital to a veterans home.
Images of Hollidaysburg State Hospital
Main Image Gallery: Hollidaysburg State Hospital