Click here to see current and past preservation alerts and how you can help.
The mission of this site is to archive both historical and current information on asylums across the United States and around the world.
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
Fulton State Hospital
In 1847, the Missouri General Assembly enacted legislation to establish an asylum for the insane in the central area of the state. This institution was to provide physical care for societal "lunatics." Several counties were encouraged to bid for this institution. Callaway County was able to produce $11,500 and 500 acres of land, thus winning the bid. Fulton State Hospital, the first public mental institution west of the Mississippi River in 1851, admitted its first 67 patients in December.
The original building was three stories high, excluding the basement and attic. It contained 72 rooms and housed the same number of patients. The center of the building was reserved for a patient dining area, and lodging rooms for officers, attendants, and laborers. All employees of the hospital were required to live on the grounds, and had to obtain special permission from the Superintendent in order to leave. The hospital was almost totally self-sufficient at this time. By maintaining sewing rooms, vegetable and straw houses, raising their own food, pumping water from underground wells and streams, and making their own soap, the hospital was similar to a small city, requiring few resources from outside its grounds. Click here for more...
Featured Image Of The Week
In no time at all the hospital’s 275 beds
filled when relatives could no longer handle the special needs of family members with mental illness. Soon, an additional 120 beds were added, then another 250, then more and more over the years, as the hopelessly mental ill poured through their doors. In the hospital’s early years, the asylum was a self-sufficient institution where the patients worked on a farm, raising crops and livestock, to provide food for the facility. Allegedly, the hospital needed only to purchase salt and sugar to supplement their food provisions.
Recent Message Board Posts
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.