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The mission of this site is to archive both historical and current information on asylums across the United States and around the world.
This site is dedicated to the history of asylums in all forms. The term of asylum is applied to not only what is commonly thought of: mental hospitals, but can also be applied to sanatoriums, state training schools, reform schools, almshouses, and orphanages. These institutions have and continue to play a major part in today's society.
Everyone throughout the United States and in many other countries has in one way or another felt the touch of these institutions. These places have both directly and indirectly affected people and their families. They have shaped lives and created many popular myths about them.
With all that in mind, this site was created to help in the historical research of any institutions that can be classified as an asylum. It was created for both serious researchers, those who are doing genealogical research, and people with an interest in asylums.
Featured Article Of The Week
Pilgrim State Hospital
At the time it was opened, it was the largest hospital of any type in the world. Its size has never been exceeded by any other facility, although today Pilgrim is far smaller than it used to be.
By 1900, overcrowding in city asylums was becoming a major problem that many tried to resolve. One answer was to put the mentally ill to work farming in a relaxing setting on what was then rural Long Island. The new state hospitals were dubbed "Farm Colonies" because of their live-and-work treatment programs, agricultural focus and patient facilities. However, these farm colonies, the Kings Park State Hospital (later known as the Kings Park Psychiatric Center) and the Central Islip State Hospital (later known as the Central Islip Psychiatric Center), quickly became overcrowded, just like the earlier institutions they were supposed to replace.
NY state responded by making plans for a third so-called farm colony, what was to become the Pilgrim State Hospital, named in honor of the former New York State Commissioner of Mental Health, Dr. Charles W. Pilgrim. The state bought up approx. 1,000 acres (4.0 km²) of land in Brentwood and began construction in 1930. The hospital opened on October 1, 1931 as a close knit community with its own police and fire department, courts, post office, a LIRR station, power plant, potter's field, swinery, cemetery, water tower and houses for doctors, psychiatrists, and asylum administrators. A series of underground tunnels were used for routing steam pipes and other vital utilities. Click here for more...
Featured Image Of The Week
In 1874, some of these resources were transferred to the Marine Hospital Service buildings.
By 1883, the entire complex of buildings was operated as the United States Marine Hospital. The “National Institutes of Health” as the laboratory became known, operated out of the attic rooms from 1887 to 1891. The building that housed the laboratory still stands and is part of the former Bayley Seton Hospital complex.
The following hour long film created by CBS in 1978 entitled "Anyplace But Here" follows a few people from their time in Creedmoor State Hospital to their discharge out into the community.
Recent Message Board Posts
In this space you normally would see our forum. This had been a hold over from earlier days before we had a Facebook page. Just prior to our server issues regular users had been barely using the forum with the majority of new posts from anonymous users asking genealogy questions or spammers. The old forum software does not work with our new version while the new forum software does not carry over old comments to the new forum. As a result, the forum will be discontinued in favor of our Facebook page. If you have questions or comments you can ask them there.
Asylum Projects Facebook Page
If you have genealogical question here is an information page to help you.