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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

Danvers State Hospital

Danvers state 1875.jpg

Constructed at a cost of $1.5 million, with the estimated yearly per capita cost of patients being $3,000 the hospital originally consisted of two main center buildings, housing the administration, with four radiating wings. The outer wings (A and J) housed the dangerous patients. The administration building measured 90 by 60 feet, with a tower 130 feet tall. Connected in the rear was a building 180 by 60 feet, in which the kitchens, laundries, chapel, and dormitories for the attendants. In the rear is the boiler house of 70 feet square, with boilers of 450 horsepower, used for heating and ventilation. Water was pumped from Middleton Pond. On each side of the administration are the wings, west side was male, east side was female, connected by small square towers, with the exception of the last ones on each side, which are joined by octagonal towers. The former measured 10 feet square, and were used to separate the buildings. The original plan was designed to house 500 patients, with 100 more possible to accommodate in the attic. The buildings that make up the campus are the main hospital, the Bonner medical building, the gray gables, the male and female nurse homes, the male and female tubercular buildings, the repair shops, the mechanics garage, a work farm, a power plant, a gazebo, several homes and cottages, and some other buildings. However, by the late 1930s and 1940s, over 2,000 patients were being housed, and overcrowding was severe.

While the hospital was originally established to provide residential treatment and care to the mentally ill and the criminally insane, its functions expanded to include a training program for nurses in 1889 and a pathological research laboratory in 1895. In the 1890s, Dr. Charles Page, the superintendent, declared mechanical restraint unnecessary and harmful in cases of mental illness. By the 1920s the hospital was operating school clinics to help determine mental deficiency in children. During the 1960s as a result of increased emphasis on alternative methods of treatment, de-institutionalization, and community-based mental health care, the inpatient population started to decrease. Due to budget cuts within the mental health system the hospital was closed in June 1992. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

Built on the plans of the Central State Hospital for the Insane in Indianapolis Indiana, as suggested by Dorthea Dix in 1847. The board of trustees sent M.C. Goltra to Indianapolis to obtain copies of the plans for the hospital that had just started construction there. Thus the architectural plans for the Kirkbride plan building were a copy of an asylum just begun there. The Central Indiana State Hospital for the Insane would open and accept it's patients first on November 21st 1848. The hospital and Jacksonville added several wings between 1848 and 1875.

Recent Message Board Posts

Thread Title Replies Views Last Action
Massachusetts Hospital for Epi... 0 11 Wed 16th 1:43 am -
Trying to find information abo... 3 63 Sun 13th 11:17 am - M-Explorer
Greystone News 6 333 Wed 9th 10:10 am - M-Explorer
I have old medical records fro... 1 2 16 2164 Wed 9th 6:03 am - Squad546
Douglas County Asylum for the ... 1 59 Wed 9th 5:52 am - Squad546
Blackwell Island Geneology REq... 6 663 Thu 3rd 10:42 pm -
Info Request from User:Scribbl... 1 2 19 3724 Sun 30th 7:35 pm -
Logansport State Hospital gene... 1 2 17 2067 Wed 26th 6:07 am - Squad546
Search for former patient info... 1 23Last 54 9703 Wed 26th 5:48 am - Squad546
Traverse City State Hospital, ... 1 2 27 7209 Wed 26th 5:45 am - Squad546
Patient Records Howard State H... 1 66 Mon 24th 9:55 am - M-Explorer
Times of admission 1 46 Mon 24th 9:51 am - M-Explorer
Danville state hospital, Danvi... 1 93 Mon 24th 6:15 am - Soldat251
The City on the Hill 4 463 Sat 22nd 11:06 pm -
Genealogical Research on my gr... 4 115 Thu 20th 1:07 am -

Featured Video

The following is a video of Greystone Park State Hospital by the Greystone Park Preservation Society

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Asylum News   (news you can edit!)

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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