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Mississippi State Hospital |+|
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Governor AG Brown made the first public proposition to establish a hospital for the insane in 1846. In 1848, the Mississippi Legislature appropriated funds for the original facility, which opened in 1856 at the present site of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. The institution became a highly contested site during the Civil War. Under the direction of General William T. Sherman, the Union Army ransacked the institution during the early stages of the occupation of Jackson in July 1863. Union soldiers plundered the storeroom and garden, and slaughtered numerous livestock. Making matters worse, seven of institution’s ten employees left their jobs and joined the Union Army. |+|
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|−|Two notable developments occurred at the institution during Reconstruction. The institution began admitting black patients in 1870. Indications show that black and white patients resided in neighboring wards in the same buildings for a majority of the institution’s 85- year operation. Secondly, in 1871, the state legislature mandated weekly visits to the institution by its trustees. Such a mandate shows its usefulness in the institution’s yearly death rate of roughly 21 per year during most of Reconstruction. Due to the lack of upkeep and lack of funding, Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum became dilapidated during the late-19th century. Until 1894, the institution relied on coal oil lamps and candles for lighting, and a local pond for water. In 1892, a fire broke out that destroyed two -thirds of the institution’s major building and claimed one patient’s life. Spurred by this devastating fire, the state legislature appropriated funds to begin having electric light fixtures installed throughout the institution in 1894. [[ Mississippi State Hospital|Click here for more...]] |+|
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Featured Article Of The Week
Callan Park Hospital for the Insane
The Colonial Government bought the whole 104.5 acres as a site for a new lunatic asylum to be designed according to the enlightened views of the American Dr Thomas Kirkbride. Colonial Architect James Barnett worked in collaboration with Inspector of the Insane Dr Frederick Norton Manning to produce a group of some twenty neo-classical buildings, completed in 1885 and subsequently named the Kirkbride Block, offering progressive patient care.
The asylum was the 'institutional linchpin' of moral therapy and the appropriate design of the building was crucial to the success of the therapy.  Pleasant surroundings and well designed, comfortable, small-scale buildings were imperative. These aims were embodied in a pavilion-type layout, where small buildings had all-weather connections and the spaces in between were landscaped as courtyards for outdoor activities. Manning chose Chartham Down because it was a pavilion-type layout in which separate ward blocks enclosed airing courts. Ultimately, the combination of Manning's understanding of moral therapy, Barnet's architecture, and the outstanding site at Callan Park, produced a design of a higher standard than Chartham.
Together they designed five male and five female wards, to accommodate approximately 600 patients. The wards were symmetrically arranged about the main cross axis on which the official buildings were planned. Eight of the lofty, airy wards, had large airing courts – some with a view to the Blue Mountains. The other two had high retaining walls caused by the slope of the land. A remarkable continuous covered veranda linked the buildings. Click here for more...