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The mission of this site is to archive both historical and current information on asylums across the United States and around the world.
This site is dedicated to the history of asylums in all forms. The term of asylum is applied to not only what is commonly thought of: mental hospitals, but can also be applied to sanatoriums, state training schools, reform schools, almshouses, and orphanages. These institutions have and continue to play a major part in today's society.
Everyone throughout the United States and in many other countries has in one way or another felt the touch of these institutions. These places have both directly and indirectly affected people and their families. They have shaped lives and created many popular myths about them.
With all that in mind, this site was created to help in the historical research of any institutions that can be classified as an asylum. It was created for both serious researchers, those who are doing genealogical research, and people with an interest in asylums.
Featured Article Of The Week
Ray Brook State Hospital
The New York State Hospital for Incipient Pulmonary Tuberculosis (as it was originally named), was commonly known simply as "Ray Brook." Opened in 1904, Ray Brook was the first New York State-operated tuberculosis sanatorium, and the second in the United States, after Massachusetts. After a protracted study of alternative sites, New York State chose to establish its hospital in the highly-regarded fresh air of the Adirondack Mountains, near the critical mass of tuberculosis experts in Saranac Lake.
Although medical developments made sanatoria obsolete starting in the mid-1950s, the State Hospital at Ray Brook continued to operate until the mid-1960s. The property was then transferred from the Department of Health to the new Drug Addiction Control Commission, combining enforcement and treatment; in 1971 the new facility opened as the Ray Brook Rehabilitation Center, housing 70 to 130 women addicts. However, it was judged a failure, and closed within five years. It was succeeded by a camp program for adult inmates, "Camp Adirondack". Working with the Department of Environmental Conservation, "campmen", as inmates were known, were employed in logging, sawmill, wildlife preservation, construction of campsites and snowmobile and cross-country ski trails, and construction of a toboggan run at the Mount Pisgah ski area. The camp also constructed the Ice Palace each winter for the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. Click here for more...
Featured Image Of The Week
In 1866, construction began on a large asylum building
(razed in the early 1980's). Like the Eastern and Great Meadow prisons, the asylum was built on the approved institutional design of the day: a three-story center structure for administration with long wings radiating from either side for patient housing, males in one wing and females in the other.
Recent Message Board Posts
In this space you normally would see our forum. This had been a hold over from earlier days before we had a Facebook page. Just prior to our server issues regular users had been barely using the forum with the majority of new posts from anonymous users asking genealogy questions or spammers. The old forum software does not work with our new version while the new forum software does not carry over old comments to the new forum. As a result, the forum will be discontinued in favor of our Facebook page. If you have questions or comments you can ask them there.
Asylum Projects Facebook Page
If you have genealogical question here is an information page to help you.