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St Elizabeths Hospital |+|
November of 1852 a tract of land overlooking the Anacostia River was purchased for $25,000 from Thomas Blagden. Construction began almost immediately on the center building, a red brick fortress designed in Gothic revival style by Thomas U. Walter, who also designed the dome of the Capital Building. The hospital was built following the Kirkbride Plan, most of the construction of the center building was done by slaves. It opened in 1855 as the Government Hospital for the Insane. The Hospital's early mission, as defined by its founder, the leading mental health reformer Dorothea Dix, was to provide the "most humane care and enlightened curative treatment of the insane of the Army, Navy, and District of Columbia. " During the Civil War, wounded soldiers treated here were reluctant to admit that they were in an insane asylum, and said they were at St. Elizabeth's, the colonial name of the land where the Hospital is located. Congress officially changed the Hospital's name to St. Elizabeth's in 1916. By the 1940s, the Hospital complex covering an area of over 300 acres. At its peak, 4,000 people worked and 7, 000 patients lived there. It was the first and only federal mental facility with a national scope. The first appropriation towards building the Government Hospital for the Insane was of $100,000, and was made by Congress in 1852 for the purchase of land. The organic act creating the institution and outlining the duties of its officers and providing for the admission of various classes of insane patients was not approved until March 3, 1855. The hospital, however, had been opened for the reception of patients on January 15,1855. |+|
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|−|The creation of the hospital was due very largely to the activity of Dorothea L. Dix. She drew up with her own pen the outlines of the organic act establishing the institution, and virtually named its first superintendent , Dr. C. H. Nicholas. During the latter part of her life Miss Dix spent much of her time at the hospital, where quarters were always reserved for her, and the little desk upon which she drew up the original act creating the hospital stands in the board room in the main building. [[ St Elizabeths Hospital|Click here for more...]] |+|
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Spencer State Hospital
In 1885, the state legislature began hearings on the need for a Second Hospital for the Insane. The first hospital for the insane was built at Weston in 1859. Because of overcrowded conditions, it was determined that a second facility was needed. They appointed a commission to choose several sites and present their findings at the next session in 1887. John G Schilling, a Spencer attorney, was among the members of the commission.
One of the factors that would determine the final selection of a site was the willingness of the county government to purchase the necessary land and donate it to the state free of charge. Roane County was enthusiastic with the prospect of obtaining the hospital. The Roane County Court immediately issued an order stating that they would indeed be willing to meet this requirement.
The decision on the hospital's location was not made until the legislative session of 1887. Spencer was eventually chosen as the site of the new hospital. The legislature approved an appropriation of $10,000 to begin construction. The county was now required to provide the land for the facility. On February 10, 1888, the county court purchased 184 acres of land from William R. Goff for the sum of $9,200. Goff, after receiving this large sum of money began looking for a safe repository for his money. Goff and several other citizens joined together to form the Bank of Spencer. It opened for business in March 1891. The county's first bank was designated to handle the funds for the construction of the new hospital. It also later handled the state hospital's regular transactions. The building was 1/4 mile in length. Click here for more...