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Welcome to Asylum Projects,
A historic asylum wiki anyone can edit.
2,117 articles and counting
We need your help!
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Preservation Alert
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

Harlem Valley State Hospital


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One day after the incorporation of the Board of Managers, Harlem Valley State Hospital came into being. It opened on April 24th, 1924 "for the care and treatment of the insane" as part of an act to discontinue the farm and industrial prison at Wingdale. Buildings A, B and C had already been constructed at the State Road (Route 22) site and money was soon requested to buy adjoining farmland and buildings to build a root cellar, dairy barn, piggery and poultry house for 3000 chickens. With 24 patients admitted on August 11 from New York City and Long Island, the hospital was ready to become part of the history of Harlem Valley.

Between 1925 and 1929, the certified capacity of the new hospital rose from 250 to 1294. During that time, the Board of Managers, which, in later years, became the Board of Visitors, approved changing the course of the State Route 22 so that it would skirt most of the grounds instead of running directly through. By 1928 Buildings F and H were competed and Kitchen G was readied. In addition, tennis courts were built, physical culture classes were started and a baseball team for employees was organized. Then, by 1929 new staff quarters were completed and a switchboard was installed that served for 60 years. In the fall of the year, the School of Nursing, constructed in 1926, opened on September 23 with 14 enrolled. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

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By 1900, overcrowding in city asylums was becoming a major problem that many tried to resolve. One answer was to put the mentally ill to work farming in a relaxing setting on what was then rural Long Island. The new state hospitals were dubbed "Farm Colonies" because of their live-and-work treatment programs, agricultural focus and patient facilities.

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

This video on Buffalo State Hospital was created by the Richardson Center Corporation and Odessa Pictures. It gives a brief history and overview of the Kirkbride.

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.