Mt Pleasant State Hospital

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Mt Pleasant State Hospital
Mt Pleasant State Hospital
Construction Began 1855
Construction Ended 1865
Opened 1861
Current Status Active
Building Style Kirkbride Plan
Architect(s) Jonathan Preston
Peak Patient Population 1,581 in 1946
Alternate Names
  • Iowa Lunatic Asylum, Mount Pleasant
  • Mount Pleasant Insane Asylum
  • Mount Pleasant Hospital for the Insane
  • Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute
  • Mount Pleasant Asylum for the Insane
  • Iowa State Hospital for the Insane
  • Mount Pleasant Lunatic Asylum


The Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute is the oldest of the four Iowa Department of Human Services facilities serving persons affected by mental illness. The first patient was admitted on February 26, 1861. In the early years of its operation, the facility was a custodial facility for patients who were hospitalized for long periods of time, some for the greater part of their lives.

In 1946, the facility reached its peak occupancy of 1,581. Since 1945 however, new therapies and medications have helped decrease the facility's population, and the individual's average length of stay has been reduced from years to a matter of weeks.

The Center for Psychiatric Care (Adult Psychiatric Services and Dual Diagnosis) is accredited by the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services. The Iowa Residential Treatment Center is licensed by the Iowa Department of Public Health, and is currently operating on a three-year accreditation which was received in 2005.

From the "BOARD OF CONTROL OF STATE INSTITUTIONS, From Iowa Official Register 1909-1910" pages 262-269

  • Superintendent-CHARLES F. APPLEGATE, M.D.
  • First Assistant Physician-FRANK T. STEVENS, M.D.
  • Second Assistant Physician-EDWARD L. EMRICH, M.D.
  • Third Assistant Physician-JOHN F. SCHAEFER, M.D.
  • Woman Physician-ANNE BURNET, M.D.
  • Pathologist-FRED G. ELLIS

The amount allowed for the support of this hospital is $12 per month for each patient. All expenses of the hospital, except for special purposes, are paid from the sum so named, and the amount is charged to the counties from which patients are sent.

In 1936 a huge fire destroyed the main Kirkbride building and left it beyond repair. The massive infereno spared only a few kitchen buildings behind the main building. People tried to rebuild the hospital, but this proved to be too hazardous, costly, and time consuming. The Mt. Pleasant State Hospital became the only mental institution in Iowa to be closed down and it's ruins abandoned. Only pictures and a few smaller, newer buildings with no historical value remain.

Images of Mt Pleasant State Hospital

Main Image Gallery: Mt Pleasant State Hospital