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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

Athens State Hospital


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In 1867 the Ohio Legislature appointed a commission to find a site for an asylum in south-eastern Ohio. A site in Athens was found suitable. Construction began in 1867 and the Athens Lunatic Asylum was completed during 1874. Levi T. Scofield was the architect. The Athens Mental Health Center opened on January 9, 1874 on land purchased from the Coate's farm. The asylum itself was built from bricks which were fired on-site from clay dug on-site. Herman Haerlin, a student of Frederick Law Olmstead (the designer of Central Park), was responsible for the design of the hospital and its grounds. By the turn of the twentieth century, orchards and farmland were maintained on the property, tended to by hospital residents and employees. This made the hospital nearly self-sufficient. Nevertheless, at the time of its construction it was a major boon to the economy of the city of Athens, which was able to supply milk, eggs, linens, and other necessities. Local citizens made use of Haerlin's extensive grounds, which included landscaped hills and trees, a pond, a spring, and a creek with a falls.

The Administration building housed offices of the Superintendent, assistant physicians, steward, and a general reception room for visitors. Two wings added to the building were used for patients. The second floor contained apartments of the medical superintendent. The third and fourth floors were used for administrative offices.

Over the years the buildings and grounds at the Athens Mental Health Center underwent many changes. In the 1920s a fire destroyed the grand ballroom. In 1924 a building was erected on the grounds for the treatment of mentally ill patients with tuberculosis. In 1928 the dairy barn went in, making the hospital almost self-sufficient. Later, in 1960, part of the farmland belonging to the hospital was acquired by Ohio University for the construction of the Convocation Center. Between 1968 and 1972 the Hocking River and State Route 682 were rerouted, eliminating the reservoir as well as four of the decorative lakes on the property. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

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Mendota opened on July 14, 1860 when it admitted a patient who had been brought all the way from Oconto County...a long trip by horse and wagon. Even though the hospital was not yet ready to open, that Saturday it was decided that, because of the distance the patient had been brought, he should be received. Thus began Mendota's ready response to the needs of patients and communities, which has been its tradition.

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Featured Video

The following is a video history of Binghamton State Hospital created by nysasylum.com.

Upcoming Events Calendar

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v3.8.4 (9/15/2009) about...

Asylum News   (news you can edit!)

May 28, 2014 NEW STATE PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL BRINGS CARE INTO THE 21ST CENTURY

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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