Racine County Asylum

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Racine County Asylum
Opened 1889
Closed 1970
Demolished 1989
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Single Building
Location Racine, WI
Alternate Names
  • Racine County Insane Asylum
  • Racine County Hospital for Mental Diseases
  • Gatliff Asylum
  • High Ridge


The Asylum for the Chronically Insane was built in December of 1889. Most Racine residents simply referred to it as Racine County Insane Asylum, and over the years it went through other names like Gatliff Asylum and High Ridge Hospitals. Patients included not only the insane, but also the elderly, immigrants, and poor. By 1904 the asylum held 133 patients when it suddenly burned down in a fire. All of the patients were able to escape mostly unharmed and their records were saved by staff. Within a year the building was already rebuilt. The County Home, better known as the poor farm, moved to the same property as the asylum around the early 1900s. Some of the patients were occasionally transferred from the asylum to the poor farm when they were able to show that they could do well in a less structured environment.