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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

Woodstock Hospital for Epileptics


Late in the 1800s, the Ontario Government began to establish and operate a series of Ontario Hospitals (O.H.s) to care for the mentally ill and the mentally retarded. O.H. Woodstock was built on 100 acres, north of Woodstock, on the west side of what is now Highway 59, specifically to look after epileptic patients from all over Ontario: epilepsy was then considered a mental illness.

When first opened on April 22, 1906, it was called the Hospital for Epileptics, Woodstock, and consisted of two cottages, ‘May’ and ‘George’, plus an administration building. It admitted 58 adult and child patients in its first year.

Many epileptic patients also suffered from mental illness or retardation. As a part of therapy, the hospital grounds included a working farm on which fruit, vegetables and grain were grown, and patients were given tasks according to their abilities. A dairy herd was added in 1919.

By 1932, the hospital had expanded to 324 acres, had 486 patients and a staff of 120, including a professional staff of doctors and nurses.

Tuberculosis had long been a problem up to the mid 1900s and its usual treatment was rest, good food and isolation. This highly infectious respiratory disease spread easily among the mentally ill and mentally challenged patients of the crowded Ontario Hospitals. In response, a Chest Diseases Division was added in 1939, in new buildings on the east side of Hwy 59. It included isolation wards and laboratory facilities for TB diagnosis. The epilepsy division remained on the west side of Hwy 59. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

In the nineteenth century, the United States had suffered three devastating cholera outbreaks, with each originating abroad. As Ellis Island being the port of entry, it's two story wooden dispensary was not equipped to handle such threats. For the next decade the issue of how to protect the health of the nation and the immigrants loomed over Ellis. The problem would only intensify when the wooden infirmary caught fire and burned to the ground in 1897.

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Featured Video

The following twenty minute 1936 video entitled "On The Front Lines" was about the major scourge of the time, tuberculosis, and features Waverly Hills Sanitarium for most of its hospital scenes.

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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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