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Bangor State Hospital
The Eastern Maine Insane Hospital was opened on July 1, 1901. It was built on a pastoral hill named 'Hepatica Hill' for its flowers overlooking the city of Bangor and the Penobscot River. Pine trees were planted around all of the driveways on the campus and have since grown to enormous sizes.
Within five days of opening in 1901, 145 patients were transferred from the Maine Insane Hospital in Augusta to the Bangor location. Patients were generally committed to the hospital by their community peers, such as town selectmen, family, etc.
Patients worked the fields, raised livestock, manned the laundry, sewing room and kitchen as part of their "treatment." This made the hospital self-sufficient and any excesses were sold at market to pay additional costs, until 1973 when the case of Sonder vs. Brennan went to court and it was determined that patients in public institutions could not work without being paid.
The name of the hospital changed in 1913 to Bangor State Hospital and then eventually to Bangor Mental Health Institute in the early 70's. The highest patient census was in 1970 with 1,200 patients; however, with a concerted downsizing effort in the 70's, the census fell to 470 in 1974. There were approximately 300 patients through much of the 80's. Click here for more...
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Prior to mental health hospitals
, the mentally ill were the responsibility of their families, and if their families could not cope, they were either put in poor houses, put out on the streets, or locked away in jail. Mental health reformer Dorothea Dix (1802-1887), a native of Hampden, Maine, worked closely with the second superintendent of the Augusta asylum, Issac Ray (appointed in 1841). The building was state-of-the-art when constructed. All parts had ventilation, lighting, heating, and water. Men and women had separate wings.
The following is a forty minute video documenting the history of Camarillo State Hospital that had been created by the California Department of Developmental Services and was uploaded to youtube by PublicResources.org
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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.