Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital

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Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital
Established 1853
Construction Began 1862
Opened 1891
Current Status Active
Building Style Single Building
Architect(s) Vaux,Calvert / Dixon,Thomas / James M.
Location Towson, Maryland
Alternate Names
  • Sheppard Asylum
  • Sheppard Pratt Health System (Current)


Founded in 1853 by Baltimore merchant Moses Sheppard, after a visit by mental health rights advocate and social reformer Dorothea Lynde Dix, the hospital was originally called the Sheppard Asylum. The original buildings were designed by the famous architect Calvert Vaux and constructed on what had previously been a 340 acre farm. The cornerstone of the original building was laid in spring of 1862.

Sheppard stipulated that the following conditions were to be imposed for the Asylum: “Courteous treatment and comfort of all patients; that no patient was to be confined below ground; all were to have privacy, sunlight and fresh air; the asylum's purpose was to be curative, combining science and experience for the best possible results; and that only income, not principal would be used to build and operate the asylum.” Because of these financial restrains, the Asylum did not open until 1891, 34 years after Sheppard's death. It also left it with financial uncertainty, putting its long-term future in doubt.

The future of the Asylum was greatly enhanced when in 1893, upon his death, Baltimore merchant Enoch Pratt bequeathed a substantial amount of his fortune to complete the construction and expand the asylum with the stipulation that the name change to The Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital.

Today the hospital is one of the leading mental health providers in the United States, being constantly ranked in the top 10 by US News and World Report. It is also in the midst of an expansion and renovation project, moving patient rooms from its twin historic Victorian era buildings to more modern ones.

The original building plan for The Sheppard & Enoch Pratt Hospital was two buildings. One for females (the Eastern Division) and one for males (the Western Division). There was a gap between the two Divisions until 1906 when a service building was added to fill in the gap. Then the Central Building was added between the Divisions in 1970.


The Robert W. and Diane E. Gibson Museum of Sheppard Pratt

The Gibson Museum is open to the public every Thursday from 9:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and by appointment.

Call 443-286-5626 or 410-938-3131, or contact the Volunteer Office at 410-938-4850.

You may also email to inquire about an appointment.


  • Beyond the Gatehouse: The Evolution of The Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, 1985-2006, By W. Byron Forbush II
  • Gatehouse: The evolution of the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, 1853-1986, by Bliss Forbush
  • The Sheppard & Enoch Pratt Hospital, 1853-1970. A History, by Bliss Forbush

Images of Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital[edit]

Main Image Gallery: Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital