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Tennessee’s first facility for the mentally ill, Tennessee Lunatic Asylum
, opened in 1840 Nashville as the eleventh institution for mentally ill in United States. Dorothea Dix, American activist on behalf of the indigent insane, visited Tennessee in 1847 and found Nashville asylum deficient. She implored the Legislature to purchase a larger site for a new hospital. The next year Legislature appropriated $40,000 for new hospital for insane. A site purchased on Murfreesboro Turnpike southeast of Nashville. Tennessee Hospital for the Insane (now Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute) opened with 60 patients transferred from old asylum. William A. Cheatham was the hospital's first superintendent. In mid 2000 the hospital was torn down to make way for a Dell Inc call help center.