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Featured Article Of The Week

Bartonville State Hospital


Construction on the Bartonville State Hospital began in 1885, and the main structure-an enormous building most closely resembling a medieval castle-was completed in 1887. The building was never used, apparently due to the structural damage caused when the abandoned mine shafts it was built over collapsed. The psychiatric hospital was rebuilt in 1902 under the direction of Dr. George Zeller and implemented a cottage system of 33 buildings, including patient and caretaker housing, a store, a power station, and a communal utility building. Zeller was considered a pioneer of a kinder generation of mental health care, using no window bars or other restraints in his design. In 1907, the name was changed to Peoria State Hospital.

On the hospital's 25th anniversary in 1927, the population was 2,650 with a total of 13,510 patients having entered the facility. During this time, Dr. Zeller was widely respected for his focus on therapeutic efforts. Zeller crusaded for a better public understanding of the mentally ill including inviting newspaper reporters and community members to visit Peoria State. From 1943 until 1969 the hospital participated in a departmental affiliation program for psychiatric nursing which provided instruction in psychiatric nursing to students from regional general hospital nursing schools. Click here for more...