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

Chicago State Hospital


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The constantly increasing number of insane cases in the wards of the poorhouse soon made manifest the necessity of providing separate and suitable quarters for this class of county charges. Accordingly in 1870 the insane asylum was built. This institution was erected on the county far, a little over a block northeast of the infirmary, on the ground dotted with forest trees and gradually sloping to an artificial lake. L. B. Dixon, of Chicago, was the architect.

The asylum building had a frontage to the east of 272 feet and was divided by a center building, in which the offices were situated; the two wings were divided into wards. Each ward was 116 feet long from north to south. The central building had a frontage of 50 feet. At each extreme end of wings was a projection 20 feet to the rear for bathroom, water closets and stairs to the yards. The building was of brick, with cut stone trimmings, and was three stories high above the basement. Each wing had a center corridor 13 feet wide, with three windows on each end. The patients' rooms were on each side of the corridors. Especial pains were taken to secure a thoroughly efficient system of warming and ventilation. The heating was by high pressure steam, and ventilation was forced by two double-bladed iron fans, eight feet in diameter. The water closets were at the end of each ward. The bathrooms were adjoining at the end of each wing. There was a soiled clothes drop from each bathroom to a room in the basement. There were two bathtubs and three water closets on each floor. Each wing had a dining-room on each floor with attendants' each room adjoining. A dumb waiter extended to the basement from each dining-room. There was a linen room for each story of each wing near the attendants room. At the end of each wing there was a separate stairway with separate exits into yards for inmates. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

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The last state hospital built in Illinois. Originally built to house infirm elderly patients with a capacity or 3,500 and expansion for an additional 1,500. Due to declining patient population nationwide by the mid 1960's, this was never needed. Beginning in 1965 the hospital began receiving inner city patients of all ages.

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.