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Both the Greystone and Athens Kirkbride buildings are in danger of being partially or completely demolished.
Please click on the link above for more information and to see how you can help.

Mission Statement

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The Mission

The mission of this site is to archive both historical and current information on asylums across the United States and around the world.

The Statement

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

Kalamazoo State Hospital


The choice of Kalamazoo as the location for the Michigan Asylum at Kalamazoo was helped by the fact that the governor was Epaphroditus Ransom, who once resided in Kalamazoo. Although the asylum was originally planned for a site in what is now the Stuart neighborhood, it was decided that this location was too close to downtown. So planners instead chose to place the hospital far out in the country, where they would never be bothered by these people. That location was on what is now Oakland Drive, where the hospital is still located.

The asylum was on the cutting edge of many forms of treatment. Through its close proximity to town, it was able to establish an innovative outpatient clinic in 1916 as well as a unique "family-care" program that placed patients in certified homes. The hospital also made use of colony farms, adjunct properties on which patients with milder illnesses — and those who today might be considered developmentally delayed — lived in familial farm settings. (One of these was near Kalamazoo's Asylum Lake.) They often raised livestock and produce for use at the hospital. The farms are examples of the limited treatment options for the mentally ill that were available before the 1950s. Electroshock therapy, insulin-induced comas and some barbiturate drugs resulted in limited reversals in thoughts and behavior of patients, he said.

Narcoleptic or anti psychotic drugs, such as Thorazine, that would revolutionize psychiatric treatment and the role of psychiatric hospitals in society. Patients who had been in the hospital for decades were suddenly responsive, able to care for themselves, and moving back to live with their families. By 1987, the number of patients had dropped to 550. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

By 1948 the hospital had approximately 1,800 patients. Patient population peaked in 1955 with 2,710 and was integrated by 1962. After serving the state psychiatric inpatient population for over ninety years, Crownsville Hospital Center closed on June 30, 2004.

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Featured Video

This is a video of Anna Schuleit's ( Northampton State Hospital sound installation memorial in 2000.

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Asylum News   (news you can edit!)


BERLIN, VERMONT – The nearly complete $38 million Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital is a state-of-the-art mental health facility that feels all but institutional.

January 27, 2014 A kinder approach: Former Allentown State Hospital CEO is recognized for reducing restraint tactics

The former CEO walks on the roof of the Allentown State Hospital. He is armed with his high-definition camera and decades of memories to provide context to what he sees. Each step on the roof frames a new perspective of the hospital he helped to transform. The rooms in the former psychiatric center are empty. It has been three years since the hospital closed. For Greg Smith, it is easy to reminisce. He can fill in the blanks, but there aren't many signs of what used to happen at the 100-year-old campus.

January 27, 2014 Taunton State Hospital again faces closure

The state's plan to close the inpatient unit at Taunton State Hospital reflects a philosophical shift that emphasizes community-based services over institutional care, a mental health official said Friday. For the third straight year, the state is proposing to move all inpatient beds from Taunton State Hospital to the new Worcester Recovery Center. In each of the past two years, the state faced staunch local opposition. As a compromise struck in the Legislature, 45 beds currently remain at Taunton State, which used to have about 170.

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