Emmaus Asylum

From Asylum Projects
Jump to: navigation, search
Emmaus Asylum
Established 1892
Opened 1893/1901
Current Status Active
Building Style Single Building
Location Marthasville & St. Charles, MO
Alternate Names
  • Emmaus Asylum for Epileptics and Idiots
  • Emmaus Home for Epileptics and the Mentally Retarded
  • Emmaus Homes (Current)


Established and operated to this day by the United Church of Christ. They had 2 separate facilities at different locations, both using the same name however.


In 1892, the Deutsche Evangelische Synode von Nord-Amerika (German Evangelical Synod of North America) voted to set aside its former seminary property as a home for epileptics to be called the Emmaus Asyl für Epileptiker und Idioten (Emmaus Asylum for Epileptics and Idiots) for persons with mental retardation and epilepsy. Pastor Carl Schnake became the first superintendent of the home when it opened on July 4, 1893. The first resident arrived on July 5th, coming from New Orleans. Emmaus was the first institution of its kind west of the Mississippi.

In the 1900 book by William Pryor Letchworth entitled Care and Treatment of Epileptics, the author describes the Emmaus Asylum near Marthasville, Missouri. The charity was organized by Rev. C. Schnake. Two buildings of stone, spacious, well lighted, and well ventilated, afford accommodations for fifty patients, and, together with the residence of the Superintendent and a small chapel, comprise the buildings of the colony. The estate contains 240 acres, the greater part of which has not been cleared and fitted for field use.

The Emmaus Asylum for Epileptics and Idiots was also known as the Emmaus Asylum for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded, and later was called the Emmaus Home for Epileptics and the Mentally Retarded. As society came to better understand developmental disabilities and the contributions people with disabilities could make to the community, Emmaus’ programs changed and grew. While some individuals still reside on the Emmaus campuses, many now live in homes in the community. Today, Emmaus serves clients in nearly 50 homes throughout the St. Charles, St. Louis, Warren and Franklin counties and St. Louis City. Emmaus works with each client to help them live as independently as possible.

St. Charles[edit]

This separate campus was opened in 1901 and for female patients only. The original hospital buildings there have been demolished.