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Revision as of 14:18, 24 November 2009

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Welcome to Asylum Projects,
A historic asylum wiki anyone can edit.
2,118 articles and counting
We need your 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

Central Indiana State Hospital


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Central State Hospital was brought into existence by an Act of the 1844-1845 Indiana General Assembly which provided for "the procuring of a suitable site for the erection of a State Lunatic Asylum." The property, consisting of 160 acres of farmland belonging to N. Bolton, was selected due to its proximity to the State Capitol. Purchased at the rate of $33.125 per acre, the property passed to the State of Indiana on August 29, 1845.

An Act approved on January 19, 1846 provided "That the Commissioners of the Indiana Lunatic Asylum are hereby authorized to cause to be erected upon the grounds heretofore purchased for that purpose, suitable buildings for the use and accommodation of said institution, which shall hereafter be called and known by the name of the Indiana Hospital for the Insane, and also to make such improvements upon and about said grounds as they may think expedient and proper." To fund the construction, an appropriate of $15,000 was approved "for the purpose of defraying the expenses incurred under the provisions of this act."

On May 5, 1846 a contract to begin the construction of "Old Main" (Men's Department Building, razed in 1941) was authorized and on November 21, 1848 the first five patients were admitted. Thus Central State Hospital was born. The hospital served the entire state until 1905, by which time additional hospitals had been constructed in Evansville, Logansport, Madison, and Richmond leaving Central State with patients from 38 counties in central Indiana. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

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In 1883, Indiana's Legislature authorized funding for the construction of a new facility in Evansville to treat mentally ill patients. A secluded, densely wooded farm on Newburgh Road (now Lincoln Avenue), then three miles outside of the city, was selected as the site, and on Oct. 30, 1890, the new hospital admitted its first two patients. Known in its early years as Woodmere ("tranquility in the forest") and since 1927 as the Evansville State Hospital, the hospital's gardens, poultry farm, livestock and orchards, spread out over nearly 900 acres, made it self-sufficient.

Asylum News   (news you can edit!)

February 7, 2016 Clarinda struggles to fill former hospital

The 128-year-old former mental health institute in the small southwest Iowa city of Clarinda isn’t your typical real estate opportunity, and so far no one is rushing to move in. More than seven months after the state closed the Clarinda Mental Health Institute, much of the sprawling building remains empty, including entire floors that haven’t been used in decades.

February 1, 2016 Efforts continue to preserve other parts of former Peoria State Hospital grounds

Christina Morris happily remembers Sunday morning breakfasts with her grandparents, followed by visits to the peaceful cemeteries on the grounds of the Peoria State Hospital, where some family members are buried. “My interest with the state hospital started when I was about 7 years old,” Morris said in a recent interview. “When I would come onto the grounds (my grandfather) would say that this was a place of special people. (By special) I thought he meant giants, because these buildings were so big and beautiful and immaculate to me. I just was enamored by how beautiful it was.”

January 7, 2016 That Time The United States Sterilized 60,000 Of Its Citizens

Not too long ago, more than 60,000 people were sterilized in the United States based on eugenic laws. Most of these operations were performed before the 1960s in institutions for the so-called “mentally ill” or “mentally deficient.” In the early 20th century across the country, medical superintendents, legislators, and social reformers affiliated with an emerging eugenics movement joined forces to put sterilization laws on the books.

January, 6, 2016 Pa. hires firm to develop plan for Harrisburg State Hospital site

Harrisburg, PA-The state has hired a Lancaster planning company to help it figure out what to do with the former Harrisburg State Hospital, which closed 10 years ago. Since closing in 2006, the hospital complex has housed state workers from the state police, Department of General Services and the Department of Human Services. It is now part of the larger DGS Annex property, which encompasses 303 acres across Harrisburg and Susquehanna Township.