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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.
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Agnews State Hospital
The Institution was then redesigned in, what was then, a revolutionary cottage plan spreading the low-rise buildings along tree-lined streets in a manner that resembled a college campus. The Mediterranean Revival style buildings were constructed of concrete with tile roofs, decorative tile patterns, rustic wooden balconies, porch columns and banisters. Bands of decorative tile patterns reflect the Hispanic influence on the buildings. Now at the center of the Sun Microsystems/Agnews complex is the Clock Tower Building (formerly the Treatment Building) with its massive symmetrical clock tower. The auditorium is an outstanding building, which seems as beautiful today as it was in 1913. Agnews State Hospital was significant as the first modern mental hospital in California, and subsequently other State facilities, followed the example of Agnews. It embodied the distinctive characteristics of a progressive mental hospital in the early 20th century as it was intended to be a "cheerful" place with its decentralized specialized buildings for different treatment purposes and different types of patients. Its small, low-scale buildings were designed to bring light and air to patients.
After World War II, new approaches to treatment had an effect on hospital operations and facilities. Among the most important new approaches were the establishment of community clinics, treatment outside of hospitals, and treatment of the developmentally disabled at State Hospitals formerly intended for the mentally ill. A watershed event was the passage of the 1971 Laterman Act, which resulted in closing of several State hospitals and restructuring of the State system. Since that time there has been an increasing move toward closing hospitals and reliance on community treatment programs. Click here for more...
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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.