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Welcome to Asylum Projects,
A historic asylum wiki anyone can edit.
2,118 articles and counting
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The Fergus Falls town council is considering plans to demolish most of the historically listed Kirkbride building.


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

Manteno State Hospital


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The Illinois Legislature in 1927, under the administration of Len Small, voted to build a new institution for the mentally ill as Kankakee and Chicago State Hospitals were becoming overcrowded. Appropriations for the land and original buildings for a new "insane" hospital were handled by the State Department of Public Welfare. Having in mind that a large proportion of people committed to asylums came from Cook county, a location was chosen close to Chicago and yet outside of the area of high-priced land. A site was chosen near the village of Manteno. 1,000 acres were acquired in a location near the town. Plans were drawn for construction of an administration building first, followed by 100 patient cottages. The contracts were awarded December 8th, 1928.

The fact that an Illinois Central depot was located in the village of Manteno and highway 50 was completed near the site had a great deal to do with the location. In his Biennial message of 1929, Governor Len Small announced in his building report that the hospital was under construction. The cost of the administration building and 8 2-story cottages at the time was $1,172,073. Dedication ceremonies were led by the Governor on November 21st, 1929. On the morning of December 27th, 1930, a train arrived in Manteno carrying 100 male patients from Kankakee and Chicago State Hospitals. Fifteen staff members from the hospital were there to greet them.

Dr. Ralph Hinton was the first administrator and many people who lived in Manteno rushed to apply to work at the newly built institution. Manteno State Hospital gave jobs to many people during the Great Depression. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

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Work was begun in 1878 and the first patients received in December 1879. the plan of the institution is, in many respects, unique. It comprises a general building three stories high capable of accommodating 300 to 400 patients and a number of detached buildings, technically termed cottages, where various classes of insane patients may be grouped and receive the particular treatment best adapted to ensure their recovery.

Recent Message Board Posts

Hello,

In this space you normally would see our forum. This had been a hold over from earlier days before we had a Facebook page. Just prior to our server issues regular users had been barely using the forum with the majority of new posts from anonymous users asking genealogy questions or spammers. The old forum software does not work with our new version while the new forum software does not carry over old comments to the new forum. As a result, the forum will be discontinued in favor of our Facebook page. If you have questions or comments you can ask them there.

Asylum Projects Facebook Page
If you have genealogical question here is an information page to help you.

Featured Video

The following is a short video produced by WBEZ "Curious City" on Chicago State Hospital's cemetery.

Upcoming Events Calendar

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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.