Asylum Projects Five Year Anniversary!

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Hello,

Five years ago on February 15, 2006 Asylum Projects came alive on the internet.

At that time I wanted to create a database of mental hospitals in the United States. This project was not the first of its kind. Yet, I wanted a database that was updated with the latest information and as many images as I could find and I wanted that database to be freely accessible for everyone.

The first generation of this web site was no more than a simple hand coded HTML web site with simple graphics and pages. I created this while I was stationed in the Navy at Norfolk, VA.

Every so often I had to spend an entire day stationed onboard my ship as the duty Quartermaster. This meant I had to be on ship, but there were many duty days where my tasks were light. So during slow times, I’d sit down at a computer and research mental hospitals. At first I just sent emails to myself detailing the information I found to be later added to the database. I then hit upon an idea of creating a submit form to make it easier for myself.

That submit form had unintended results in that I found other people wanted to submit information too. So I added their information and realized that there are many others out there that wanted to contribute to the project.

So with the help of some friends, we completely re-did the database into a more wiki like version using the Tikiwiki software. Once that version was live and running, more and more people came and added their information. It was at this time that we also created a forum for people to discuss mental institutions.

For a couple years, the site was pretty stable and kept on growing larger and larger with more information and images.

Yet, I was noticing the limitations of the Tikiwiki software: it’s coding was tougher to understand, it was less flexible, its forum was hard to understand necessitating a separate forum and separate account, its upgrades were haphazard and almost new programs themselves, and was getting in the way of people adding information. So with the help with my friends, we completely migrated the site over to the newer Mediawiki software.

Since the moving to Mediawiki, Asylum Project’s has just exploded with information. Currently, we have more articles, more images, and more categories then we ever had in the past. Plus, with the integration of the forum into the database, now it is much easier to use and do whatever you want.

This site could never have gotten to where it is without your help. It is because of you and your hard work that this site is as big as it is and my hope is that it gets even bigger in the future. I want to thank everyone who has contributed. You have my deepest gratitude and I hope you continue to share your knowledge with us.

Sincerely,
Jonathan Brothers
“M-Explorer”
Edited On 11:57:22 AM - Mon, Feb 14th 2011 by M-Explorer

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Oddly enough my daughters just turned 5 on 2/13. I didn't realize she and this site are about the same age!

Congradulations to the site and a big thanks to everyone that continues to make this the great resource that it is!

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Has it been that long? I feel older now. Seems like it wasn't that long ago it was just Tim & I helping you out, goes much smoother with the added help. Thanks to you M for starting the project!!

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Time flies when you are having fun! This post made me think about my own state hospital website that went online in 2007. It's crazy how fast things progress! Here's looking forward to 5 more!
http://www.thomas-industriesinc.com/ - Author of Harrisburg State Hospital (Images of America). Owner of City on the Hill & Danville State Hospital websites.

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heh, congrats.

sorry i been MIA for so long, i had a job that took away all my free time. but now i've lost that job, so maybe i'll be able to get back to that book i was writing about the Wayne County Training School

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Welcome back! Although sorry to hear you lost your job. I haven't heard much about WaCoTs in a while. I was wondering, heard anything from Tim lately?

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Sorry to hear about the job, but welcome back either way!

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Nice to meet you. I grew in Michigan and have bene trying to fill in the spaces. If I cna help let me know.

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Quote:Squad546 Wed 7th 6:06 am
I haven't heard much about WaCoTs in a while. I was wondering, heard anything from Tim lately?

yes i talk to him all the time. he's ok, we still get new pics and stuff on wacots every now & then, and still hear from oldsters who used to be in there from time to time.

Quote:M-Explorer Wed 7th 9:59 am
Sorry to hear about the job, but welcome back either way!

tx


Quote:Evilavatar Wed 7th 2:49 pm
Nice to meet you. I grew in Michigan and have bene trying to fill in the spaces. If I cna help let me know.

cool. actually a lot of what is listed here in the Michigan section is stuff i put on when this was a tiki and not a wiki site...(?)

the Birch Lodge Sanitarium page is great--i been wondering about that place for years; never knew much about it. now i guess its all renovated...

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still in the process actually the folks that bought it just started last year I think.

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I'm a little late to this thread, but I wanted to add my two cents. I remember when this site came online. I gave you a hard time about it, Jonathan. You may remember I thought the site wasn't "necessary". I thought it was a mere copy of the Historic Asylums site, etc. I'm sorry I said that. It was uncalled for. The site's really grown, and I'm impressed and at times a bit jealous It's a great resource, everything Historic Asylums should be but sadly never became. I've learned a lot from Asylum Projects, as well as from all the people that frequent it and who keep unearthing new revelations from asylum history. Great job, Jonathan. Keep it up.

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Quote:Kirkbride Fri 16th 9:05 pm
I'm a little late to this thread, but I wanted to add my two cents. I remember when this site came online. I gave you a hard time about it, Jonathan. You may remember I thought the site wasn't "necessary". I thought it was a mere copy of the Historic Asylums site, etc. I'm sorry I said that. It was uncalled for. The site's really grown, and I'm impressed and at times a bit jealous It's a great resource, everything Historic Asylums should be but sadly never became. I've learned a lot from Asylum Projects, as well as from all the people that frequent it and who keep unearthing new revelations from asylum history. Great job, Jonathan. Keep it up.


Thanks. I'd like to think you had given me the kick in the rear to actually do something like this. But now it is because of everyone's hard work that it's where it is now. Hopefully you can relax back and join in with some of the conversations in the forum and chuck in some of that vast Kirkbride knowledge of yours!

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Jeesh 5 years? I too remember when you first launched the site. Anyway, great stuff.

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Indiana State Hospitals
Just found your site, by accident.
I grew up in 2 different Indiana State Hospitals due to my fathers position at each. what information have you tracked on these?
New Castle State Hospital
Madison State Hospital

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Willard State Hospital
Dear Mr. Brothers, You have done a great job! Thank you for all your hard work. I have a lot to offer for people wanting to find more information on Willard State Hospital, including names of patients from the U.S. Federal Census, but I must admit that I can't figure out how to add info and I don't want to erase someone else's work. Anyway, great job! Sincerely, Linda S. Stuhler

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Quote:Lsstuhler Wed 24th 9:54 pm
Dear Mr. Brothers, You have done a great job! Thank you for all your hard work. I have a lot to offer for people wanting to find more information on Willard State Hospital, including names of patients from the U.S. Federal Census, but I must admit that I can't figure out how to add info and I don't want to erase someone else's work. Anyway, great job! Sincerely, Linda S. Stuhler


Thank you very much. Though, AP couldn't have gotten where it is now without the help and involvement of the community.

As far as adding information, AP operates the same as Wikipedia. Once you get to the article you want to edit, you can either A) edit the entire page by selecting the edit tab at the top of the page or B) selecting the edit tabs of the individual sections you want to edit. After that, you will be presented with an edit window. There you can add whatever information you want to add. (Hint: if you're not sure how to format what you need to format, take a look at what has been already created for answers, or come here to ask.) Once you are done adding your information, just hit save. It's just that simple.

Though, if things seem slow its due to our servers, its not your computer. Just be patient and it will go through.


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