Central State Hospital Louisville
|Central State Hospital|
|Building Style||Kirkbride Plan|
|Peak Patient Population||2,400|
Land was bought by the commonwealth from the Hite family in 1869 to build a state house of reform for juvenile delinquents. In 1873 the Gerneral Assembly authorized it's conversion to the Fourth Lunatic Asylum due to severe overcrowding at Eastern & Western State Hospitals. By 1900 the hospital had been renamed 'Central Kentucky Asylum for the Insane'. Typical of asylums built in the 19th century, the hospital was located in a secluded area beyond the city. The growing need for care and persistent lack of funds lend to serious overcrowding that it was built to ease at other hospitals. By the 1920s allegations of abuse and neglect became an issue and beginning in the '30s the hospital began to perform lobotomies electroshock therapy and other methods to treat patients. In 1941 A grand jury label Lakeland an overcrowded fire trap and describe the stench in the wards as "awful" and denounced the practice of committing those that were neither insane or psychotic. There were 2,400 patients in buildings designed to house only 1,600.
Director A. Lyon reported in 1950 that many people at the hospital shouldn't be there, among them a 103 year old black man that had been committed for spitting on the courthouse stove. In 1969 the state finally released many patients considered not mentally ill. In 1974 the hospital now known as Central State was privatized under the River Region Mental Health Board as a part of a short term joint venture the merge in-patient and community based care, but 3 years later the state resumed control after the company went bankrupt. In 1986 the old hospital closed and moved into new buildings, then in 1994 the state spent $2.8 million to demolish all of the old original buildings on the 900 acre site, turning it into a state park.
There are 2 cemeteries on the former hospital property that is now part of the E.P. Tom Sawyer State park. None of the graves are marked & the number of patients buried there is unknown, possibly 4-5,000.
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