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Featured Article Of The Week

East Tennessee Hospital for the Insane


The East Tennessee Hospital for the Insane was built on land previously owned by Capt. William Lyon, after more than a dozen years of funding stops and starts and political infighting. The East Tennessee Hospital for the Insane opened in 1886 with 99 patients transferred from the older Tennessee Lunatic Asylum in Nashville. In 1920, the facility's name was changed to Eastern State Hospital as part of a program to rename all of the asylums in the state.

In 1956, Gov. Frank Clement tours Eastern State, calls what he saw — including 984 patients sleeping on floor pallets because of lack of beds — sad but not surprising. Following the 1955 invention of the tranquilizer, the hospital adopted a new form of treatment. In 1960, they introduced the $2 million Therapeutic Village, which included cottages, a store, a clinic, a coffee bar, a chapel and a pool. Gov. Winfield Dunn appointed a committee to investigate conditions after Rep. Richard Krieg leads unannounced post-midnight visit to overcrowded wards in 1971. The Committee found too little staff, too little training, and unsanitary and inhumane conditions in aging buildings. Click here for more...