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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
Central Indiana State Hospital
Central State Hospital was brought into existence by an Act of the 1844-1845 Indiana General Assembly which provided for "the procuring of a suitable site for the erection of a State Lunatic Asylum." The property, consisting of 160 acres of farmland belonging to N. Bolton, was selected due to its proximity to the State Capitol. Purchased at the rate of $33.125 per acre, the property passed to the State of Indiana on August 29, 1845.
An Act approved on January 19, 1846 provided "That the Commissioners of the Indiana Lunatic Asylum are hereby authorized to cause to be erected upon the grounds heretofore purchased for that purpose, suitable buildings for the use and accommodation of said institution, which shall hereafter be called and known by the name of the Indiana Hospital for the Insane, and also to make such improvements upon and about said grounds as they may think expedient and proper." To fund the construction, an appropriate of $15,000 was approved "for the purpose of defraying the expenses incurred under the provisions of this act."
On May 5, 1846 a contract to begin the construction of "Old Main" (Men's Department Building, razed in 1941) was authorized and on November 21, 1848 the first five patients were admitted. Thus Central State Hospital was born. The hospital served the entire state until 1905, by which time additional hospitals had been constructed in Evansville, Logansport, Madison, and Richmond leaving Central State with patients from 38 counties in central Indiana. Click here for more...
Featured Image Of The Week
In 1883, Indiana's Legislature authorized funding for the construction of a new facility in Evansville to treat mentally ill patients. A secluded, densely wooded farm on Newburgh Road (now Lincoln Avenue), then three miles outside of the city, was selected as the site, and on Oct. 30, 1890, the new hospital admitted its first two patients. Known in its early years as Woodmere ("tranquility in the forest") and since 1927 as the Evansville State Hospital
, the hospital's gardens, poultry farm, livestock and orchards, spread out over nearly 900 acres, made it self-sufficient.
The following short video, created by the New York Times and Kassie Bracken, documents the cemetery and history of Willard State Hospital.
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.