Richmond State Hospital

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Richmond State Hospital
Construction Began 1884
Construction Ended 1887
Opened 1890
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Richmond, IN
Peak Patient Population 2,200 in 1955
Alternate Names
  • East Haven Asylum
  • Eastern Indiana State Hospital for the Insane


The site for the Eastern Indiana Hospital for the Insane, now known as Richmond State Hospital, of approximately 307 acres, was purchased in 1878. Construction started in 1884 and was completed in 1890. While the Indiana legislature had authorized the establishment of a "hospital for the insane" as early as 1827, the doors of the Indiana Hospital for the Insane (later re-named Central State Hospital) did not open until 1848.

At Richmond, between 1887 and 1890, three of the completed buildings were occupied by "The School for Feeble Minded Youth." In 1890, these patients were transferred to what is now known as the Fort Wayne Developmental Center. The buildings were refurbished and the hospital formally opened on July 29, 1890, with the first patient admitted on August 4, 1890.

The hospital buildings were constructed on the cottage plan in order to prevent any "disastrous conflagration," and provide for immediate evacuation of a small number of persons in case of fire. There are many interesting architectural details in the older buildings, including exterior cupolas, interior detailing such as intricate railings and stained glass.

Although the general layout followed the cottage plan, the main administration building with adjacent buildings extending like wings is very similar to the Kirkbride plan which was the model for many asylums constructed during this era. The Hospital has had a number of names through the years, including East Indiana Asylum for the Insane, East Indiana Hospital for the Insane and finally Richmond State Hospital. Although it was never an official name, it was long referred to as "East Haven."

In 1911, the Colony Act was passed and additional acreage was purchased to allow patients to work the farmlands. Richmond was selected to be the parent institution for this type of treatment. The five farms acquired were christened "Wayne Farms." The local arboretum furnished the names: Cedar, Maple, Pine, etc. Male patients with a agricultural background were placed in the colonies. Their productive efforts were realized in many ways, but specifically through ribbons and prizes received from the exhibits of cattle and farm products at the Wayne County Fair as well as the Indiana State Fair. On May 16, 1927, the hospital's name was changed from Eastern Indiana Hospital for the Insane to Richmond State Hospital.

Located on the grounds is the Klepfer All Faiths Chapel. Financed entirely by donations from the community, the chapel was named in honor of Dr. Jefferson Klepfer, M.D., who served as superintendent from 1953 to 1976.

To better serve the patients who require continued treatment the hospital has programs geared to the needs of individuals with persistent and severe mental disorders and the older person with mental illness. Richmond State Hospital provides services to patients from the Community Mental Health Centers in East Central and Northeast Indiana. Many patients come from larger urban settings, but many of the patients continue to be from small rural communities.

Two of the newer buildings that comprise Richmond State Hospital are the 192-bed Residential Treatment Center and the food Preparation Center. Both were completed in 1991. all of the hospital building are on a 120-acre campus that has been developed into a park-like setting with beautiful trees, shrubs, copious flower beds and a pond. After more than 100 years of providing mental health services, Richmond State Hospital continues the commitment to meet the needs of our changing population. The primary goal of the hospital continues to be to plan for and, in cooperation with other care providers, develop and deliver a comprehensive and integrated system of mental health services of superior quality.

Images of Richmond State Hospital[edit]

Main Image Gallery: Richmond State Hospital

Museum Information[edit]

Tours are offered January thourgh October. To schedule a tour call Community Relations at:

498 Northwest 18th Street
Richmond, IN 47374


Hospital website