Difference between revisions of "Delaware State Hospital"

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Revision as of 07:46, 11 November 2009

Delaware State Hospital
Construction Began 1871
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Alternate Names Insane Department and Hospital Delaware Insane Asylum

In the late 1800’s, the New Castle County Trustees of the Poor had erected a facility to house the insane persons of the county, but in 1889 the Legislature felt it would be better to operate the New Castle facility for the benefit of the citizens of the whole state. Thus, for the sum of $75,000, the property was transferred from the custody of the Trustees of the Poor to the custody of a newly created State Board of Trustees of the Insane. In 1891, the Insane Department and Hospital became the Delaware State Hospital at Farnhurst.

Around the turn of the century, pleas to the Legislature for additional buildings went unheeded, so, in 1904, the Trustees took funds from the general hospital fund and erected a new Tuberculosis Building. The Legislature was less than pleased at having their authority usurped and severely chastised the Trustees with new legislation in 1905. The Trustees were flatly prohibited from erecting any new buildings whatsoever, and moreover, any funds received by the Trustees from other than State sources were to be placed in a special emergency fund which was to be used only when appropriated funds were exhausted.

During the early part of this century, there also had been increasing concern over the cohabitation of the criminally insane with patients having less severe psychological problems. This dangerous situation arose due to the desire of the New Castle County Workhouse administration to place their criminally insane prisoners in an institution better suited to handle their special problems. However, the admission of these prisoners to the State Hospital created a difficult situation there as well, by jeopardizing the safety of the other patients. Thus, in 1947, the Trustees were permitted to create a Department of the Criminally Insane to segregate these inmates and address more specifically their individual needs.

In 1964, again to promote more efficient operations, the State Board of Trustees of the Delaware State Hospital was administratively reorganized to become the Board of Trustees for a newly created Department of Mental Health. With the new reorganization, the Trustees now became responsible for the operations of the Governor Bacon Health Center; the Hospital for the Mentally Retarded at Stockley; the Day Care Center at Dover; and the Mental Hygiene Clinic at Fernhook, in addition to the State Hospital.