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Mission Statement

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The Mission

The mission of this site is to archive both historical and current information on asylums across the United States and around the world.

The Statement

This site is dedicated to the history of asylums in all forms. The term of asylum is applied to not only what is commonly thought of: mental hospitals, but can also be applied to sanatoriums, state training schools, reform schools, almshouses, and orphanages. These institutions have and continue to play a major part in today's society.

Everyone throughout the United States and in many other countries has in one way or another felt the touch of these institutions. These places have both directly and indirectly affected people and their families. They have shaped lives and created many popular myths about them.

With all that in mind, this site was created to help in the historical research of any institutions that can be classified as an asylum. It was created for both serious researchers, those who are doing genealogical research, and people with an interest in asylums.

Featured Article Of The Week

Arkansas State Hospital

Arkansas State Hospital 1910.jpg

The Arkansas State Hospital is the only state-owned and -operated facility for the treatment of mental illness in Arkansas. The structure, function, and name of this facility have changed with the development of new technology and more progressive views for treating individuals suffering from mental illness, epilepsy, birth defects, learning disabilities, and the effects of old age.

The Arkansas Lunatic Asylum was created by legislative act in 1873. In 1905, the name was changed to Arkansas State Hospital for Nervous Diseases; it was changed to Arkansas State Hospital in 1933. A facility known as the State Hospital still exists today, but what was historically encompassed by the “State Hospital” is now part of the Division of Behavioral Health Services of the Arkansas Department of Human Services, though many people still refer to it as the State Hospital

In 1873, $50,000 was appropriated by the state legislature for the purchase and construction of a facility for the care and treatment of the mentally ill in Arkansas. The purchase of a plot of land west of Little Rock (Pulaski County) took most of the original appropriation. The site of the original hospital is where the present day offices of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are which is just north of Markham Avenue and near I-430. The Brooks-Baxter War of 1872 and political wrangling about the planned location of the facility delayed any further action until 1881. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

ASH Tx 1945.jpg
Austin State Hospital was the first state facility of its kind built west of the Mississippi. In 1856, the governor of Texas signed a bill providing for the establishment of the Texas State Lunatic Asylum. Construction started in 1857, and the first patients were admitted in 1861. The facility was renamed the Austin State Hospital (ASH) in 1925.

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Logansport State Hospital gene... 1 2 22 4780 Thu 14th 2:29 pm -
Clarinda & Mount Pleasant stat... 9 414 Wed 13th 9:27 pm - M-Explorer
ELGIN STATE HOSPITAL 0 80 Tue 12th 3:50 pm -
State Hospital For Mental Dise... 10 3727 Mon 11th 5:21 pm -
Looking for relative at North ... 3 175 Mon 11th 4:18 pm -
Patient lists at Montana Tuber... 0 76 Sat 9th 12:46 pm -
How to find information on asy... 7 909 Fri 8th 10:53 pm -
Massillon State Hospital 3 2248 Tue 5th 11:28 pm -
Edna Schmidt (nee Frautschi) 1 429 Mon 4th 10:57 pm -
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vermont state asylum for the i... 1 138 Fri 1st 3:04 pm - Tavares
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Featured Video

The following nearly thirty minute video on Woodward State School & Hospital created by Ray Stewart of WOI-TV Ames, Iowa along with Iowa State University. It is part of the "In Our Care," a 13 week series of documentaries filmed inside Iowa's state institutions. The series won the 1952 National Sylvania Television Award for Production Excellence. The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities is responsible for uploading it to YouTube.

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Asylum News   (news you can edit!)

February 7, 2016 Clarinda struggles to fill former hospital

The 128-year-old former mental health institute in the small southwest Iowa city of Clarinda isn’t your typical real estate opportunity, and so far no one is rushing to move in. More than seven months after the state closed the Clarinda Mental Health Institute, much of the sprawling building remains empty, including entire floors that haven’t been used in decades.

February 1, 2016 Efforts continue to preserve other parts of former Peoria State Hospital grounds

Christina Morris happily remembers Sunday morning breakfasts with her grandparents, followed by visits to the peaceful cemeteries on the grounds of the Peoria State Hospital, where some family members are buried. “My interest with the state hospital started when I was about 7 years old,” Morris said in a recent interview. “When I would come onto the grounds (my grandfather) would say that this was a place of special people. (By special) I thought he meant giants, because these buildings were so big and beautiful and immaculate to me. I just was enamored by how beautiful it was.”

January 7, 2016 That Time The United States Sterilized 60,000 Of Its Citizens

Not too long ago, more than 60,000 people were sterilized in the United States based on eugenic laws. Most of these operations were performed before the 1960s in institutions for the so-called “mentally ill” or “mentally deficient.” In the early 20th century across the country, medical superintendents, legislators, and social reformers affiliated with an emerging eugenics movement joined forces to put sterilization laws on the books.

January, 6, 2016 Pa. hires firm to develop plan for Harrisburg State Hospital site

Harrisburg, PA-The state has hired a Lancaster planning company to help it figure out what to do with the former Harrisburg State Hospital, which closed 10 years ago. Since closing in 2006, the hospital complex has housed state workers from the state police, Department of General Services and the Department of Human Services. It is now part of the larger DGS Annex property, which encompasses 303 acres across Harrisburg and Susquehanna Township.

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