Oxford Retreat

From Asylum Projects
Jump to: navigation, search
Oxford Retreat
Construction Began 1856
Opened 1882
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Single Building
Location Oxford, OH (campus of Miami University)
Alternate Names


The building was created in 1856 as the home of the Oxford Female College. In June 1867, Oxford Female College and Oxford Female Institute united under the name Oxford Female College. The school moved into the building of the Oxford Female Institute at the southwest corner of High Street and College Avenue. The building of the Oxford Female College then briefly was a United Presbyterian academy, before being sold in 1882 to Dr. D.A. Morse, previously superintendent of the Dayton Asylum for the Insane (1878-1880), and Dr. George F. Cook. The two doctors created the trust company called the Oxford Retreat.

The Retreat opened its doors to 17 clients its first year. But first the building received some modifications to its structure in order to provide an adequate living space for its patients. At 155 feet by 171 feet, the old college building was already set up to house up to 100 patients. Upon its being sold to Dr. D.A. Morse, the Hamilton Telegraph(1) discussed the living arrangements “well ventilated,” and spacious and ample grounds.

The first floor housed those patients “nearly ready to be discharged, and those troubled with other diseases than those of the brain”, according to as description in the Oxford Citizen.(2) These rooms were filled with handsome furniture in order to make the patients more comfortable. The second floor was used for the less treatable cases, the north and east wing for the violent ones, with the men in the north side, and the women housed in the east side. The first year the third floor of the building was not used.

There were two large fires at “the Pines,” which was the building adjoining the Retreat; both times the building burnt down to the ground. The first fire occurred in 1913. After its initial burning, the Oxford Retreat built “the Pines” back up and used it as a place for “nervous women,” and kept the patients with more severe problems in the main building. In 1924, another fire occurred. On June 14th, 1925, two days after the fire at “the Pines”, the Miami University Board finance committee authorized the arrangements to purchase the Oxford Retreat property. Authority was given to this committee and the building committee to remodel and change the Retreat building as deemed necessary.

After the university took over the main building it was called Fisher Hall and used as a residence hall. The sanitarium moved to “the Pines” and continued to operate there until 1936. At that time the hospital went out of business and the university turned the building into a female dorm for students. In 1979 the main building (Fisher Hall) was no longer used by the university and demolished despite attempts to save it. The Pines, now named Wilson Hall, continues to be used as a residence hall for Miami University.