Butner State Hospital

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Butner State Hospital
Butner State Hospital
Construction Began 1941
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Alternate Names
  • John Umstead Hospital
  • Central Regional Hospital Butner Campus (Current)



History[edit]

During 1942 through 1945, Camp Butner’s primary mission was to train combat troops for deployment and redeployment to the European and Pacific theaters. The Camp contained rifle ranges, artillery ranges, a prisoner of war compound, and barracks and support services for approximately 40,000 troops.

Camp Butner was officially closed by the War Department on January 31, 1947. On April 26, 1947, the War Assets Administration assumed responsibility for the acreage. As the Camp was phased out, over 20,000 acres were sold back to the farmers who had original ownership. Approximately 5,000 acres were transferred to the North Carolina National Guard which maintains it for training. In addition, over 13,000 acres were transferred to the State of North Carolina in 1947. On November 3, 1947, the State of North Carolina took over the Camp and assumed the police and fire services. Also at this time, Mr. John Umstead, brother of Governor William B. Umstead, initiated a move in the North Carolina Legislature to provide better care for the mentally ill. This was the beginning of what is now known as “Butner,” which quickly became the home of a number of State facilities.

The abandoned army hospital became the site for John Umstead Hospital. The hospital serves the 16 counties of the North Central Region. Its primary function is to provide an inpatient facility to diagnose and treat individuals (6 years and older) with psychiatric disorders, restore them to an optimal level of functioning, and return them to the community.

1947 was also the year that the State Legislature designated the State Board of Mental Health as the governing body of the Town of Butner. The Board was given the power to prepare, adopt and enforce ordinances and regulations for the development of both the State and privately owned property in the area. In 1973, following State government reorganization, the Department of Human Resources (currently the Department of Health and Human Services) was given this responsibility. Also during 1973, the Butner Municipal Committee was appointed to advise the Secretary of Human Resources in governing the Town. The responsibility of managing the Town was assigned to the business manager of John Umstead Hospital.

In the past, the Department of Health and Human Services employed a full-time Town Manager for Butner. The Butner Planning Council, comprised of seven Butner residents, had formal powers in the adoption and administration of land use ordinances, and represented an informal advisory role with respect to other municipal services and powers.

The hospital serves 14 counties in north central North Carolina. It has 321 beds. It is scheduled to close in 2008. It will merge with Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh, which is also scheduled to close in 2008 – creating the Central Regional Psychiatric Hospital.