Brooklyn State Hospital

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Brooklyn State Hospital
Brooklyn State Hospital
Construction Began 1852
Opened 1856
Current Status Active
Building Style Kirkbride Plan (Original)
Location Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY
Alternate Names
  • Flatbush Insane Asylum
  • Kings County Asylum
  • Kings County Lunatic Asylum
  • Long Island State Hospital
  • Kingsboro State Hospital
  • Kingsboro Psychiatric Center


The main building of Kings County Lunatic Asylum, located in Flatbush, was funded by Chapter 278 of the Laws of 1852, which authorized Kings County to negotiate a loan for the extension of hospital accommodations for care of the insane in connection with its almshouse. A further authorization, made by Chapter 255 of the Laws of 1853, provided for a loan to complete the institution under construction. This amount proved insufficient and an additional loan was authorized by Chapter 927 of the Laws of 1855.

The building as originally planned was to consist of an administration building and four wings, but when it opened only two wings had been erected. The institution received its first patients in April 1854; by the end of the first month of operation it was caring for 178 patients. The demand for more room for patients necessitated an enlargement, and four additional wings were built, two on either side of the original main building. The first two were occupied by patients on June 1, 1861, and the latter two on July 1, 1869. To make room for more patients, a building originally erected on the almshouse grounds as a nursery was remodeled for asylum use; 267 patients were subsequently transferred there. Known as the "Hospital for Incurables," it functioned as a separate institution until May 1884, when it became part of the main asylum.

In February 1882, a fire occurred in the main building and destroyed the rear portion of the easterly end of the men's wards. After repair the building was used without extensive modifications until 1911, when the electric wiring and plumbing were renewed and fireproof stairways and steel ceilings were installed. In 1885, a farm was purchased at St. Johnland (on the northern side of Long Island about 40 miles from the city of Brooklyn) as a site for a branch institution to relieve the overcrowding at Flatbush. This branch later developed into the Kings Park State Hospital. Transfer of patients to the branch began in the fall of 1885. The two institutions were under one management until 1900.

Kings County Lunatic Asylum became the Long Island State Hospital and was transferred to the state by the county on July 1, 1895. In 1900, the St. Johnland branch was given separate management and became Long Island State Hospital at Kings Park; the main part of the institution became Long Island State Hospital at Flatbush (Laws of 1900, Chapter 634). In 1916, Long Island State Hospital at Kings Park was renamed Kings Park State Hospital; Long Island State Hospital at Flatbush was renamed Brooklyn State Hospital.

In May 1916, ground was broken on the Brooklyn site for a reception hospital for 150 patients, and for a building for continued treatment cases to accommodate 400 people. These buildings were completed and open to use in 1919. That same year a contract was let for the construction of another building for continued treatment cases with a capacity of 400 people. The building was completed and occupied in 1921. In 1974, Brooklyn State Hospital was renamed Brooklyn Psychiatric Center. In 1975, it was renamed again to Kingsboro Psychiatric Center.

Brooklyn State Hospital is under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Mental Hygiene. It takes nervous and mental cases from Kings County. The institution has 2,725 beds with complete facilities for observation care, and treatment. The Brooklyn State Hospital was opened in 1895, taking over some of the functions handled by the Kings County Hospital. During the past twenty years all the old buildings have been replaced by fireproof modern structures. The hospital grounds cover twenty-eight acres, and around the nineteen-story central building, opened in 1935, are grouped a number of ward and service buildings. Additions now being constructed will increase the bed capacity to 3,250.

Additional Info[edit]

  • Most of the interiors for the movie "Awakenings" were filmed at Brooklyn State Hospital.
  • Here is a bit of information on the hospital found in the book: The institutional care of the insane in the United States and Canada, Volume 3 link

Images of Brooklyn State Hospital[edit]

Main Image Gallery: Brooklyn State Hospital