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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
Austin State Hospital
Austin State Hospital was the first state facility of its kind built west of the Mississippi. In 1856, the governor of Texas signed a bill providing for the establishment of the Texas State Lunatic Asylum. Construction started in 1857, and the first patients were admitted in 1861. The facility was renamed the Austin State Hospital (ASH) in 1925.
Today, this original building serves as the administration building for a modern, innovative facility providing psychiatric care to a 38-county region in Central Texas. ASH admitted over 4400 patients in the fiscal year 2006, with about the same number of discharges, and has an average daily patient census of 292. The focus of treatment is stabilization of acute psychiatric illness and return to the community.
The old Texas State Lunatic Asylum, which now houses the administrative staff of the Austin State Hospital, is the third oldest standing public building our state. With its completion in 1861 in the lush countryside north of Austin, the hospital stood as a beacon of hope and tolerance for the treatment of the mentally ill. Click here for more...
Featured Image Of The Week
In 1889 the Texas legislature
passed a bill establishing a state mental institution to serve Southwest Texas. The new facility was to occupy at least 640 acres and be capable of housing 500 patients. It was to be known as the Southwestern Insane Asylum (not the Southwestern Lunatic Asylum, as it has sometimes been called). A site was selected five miles south of San Antonio and $200,000 was appropriated for the new hospital. The facility began operation on April 6, 1892 with a capacity of 200 patients.
The following hour and eighteen minute long video was shot in 1992 during the closing of Danvers State Hospital. The state was trying to sell the property for reuse as soon as possible after the hospital closure. This was a tour of prospective buyers and was conducted both through the closed sections and, at that time, still operating sections.
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.