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Featured Article Of The Week

Topeka State Hospital


Legislature appropriated $25,000 in 1875 "for the purpose of building an asylum for the insane at some convenient and healthy spot within two miles of the state capitol building in the city of Topeka." One condition was that the land would be acquired at no cost to the state. So the city of Topeka and Shawnee County each contributed $6,000 to purchase the original 80 acres.

The first two ward buildings, accommodating 135 patients, opened in 1879. Dr. Barnard Douglass Eastman resigned as superintendent of the asylum at Worcester MA to become the first superintendent at TSH. The institution was called the Topeka Insane Asylum until 1901 when the Legislature officially changed the name to Topeka State Hospital. Eastman told legislators that patients who were being released to make room for more patients were "well enough to be in a measure useful. All were of a quiet and harmless character."

He described the treatment process this way: "Removal from the worriment, the overwork, the unsanitary conditions and the unsuitable food of many homes ... occupying body and mind in the new employment, cheering the drooping and melancholy and soothing the excited and irritable, are some of the elements of treatment of the greatest value, sometimes working rapid cures with but little medication." Click here for more...