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Both the Greystone and Athens Kirkbride buildings are in danger of being partially or completely demolished.
Please click on the link above for more information and to see how you can help.

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

Weston State Hospital


This was West Virginia's first public institution. Its construction was begun by the State of Virginia before the separation of West Virginia from the mother state, the first appropriation having been made by the Legislature of Virginia, March 22, 1858. The institution was opened October 22, 1859, when nine patients were brought from Ohio, where they had been in temporary care awaiting the completion of the hospital. Dr. R. Hills, formerly of the Central Ohio Insane Asylum, was made superintendent and Dr. N. B. Barnes, assistant.

In the first years of its history the institution was encompassed with many difficulties. Not only were there financial troubles, but Confederate soldiers in a raid appropriated the blankets belonging to the patients, and in a second raid a ward was destroyed. The people of Weston very generously came to the rescue and contributed their own blankets to fill the temporary needs, public acknowledgment of which was made by the superintendent in his report. In 1868 the population of the hospital was 40; since that date there has been a continual increase in the number of inmates, and a corresponding increase in the appropriation for running expenses, until at the present time the population of the institution is 1023.

The grounds belonging to the hospital contain about 335 acres, and front about 2000 feet on the West Fork River, opposite the town of Weston, and extend back to the north to a depth sufficient for this acreage. With the exception of the site on which the buildings are located, which extends back from the river about 800 feet, the land is very steep and entirely unsuitable for tillage. A very small portion of it is used for gardening, but in the main it is used for grazing. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

Built in 1856, the Northampton Lunatic Hospital was the fourth Kirkbride building to be constructed; it originally consisted of a single three story brick building, designed in a Gothic Revival style, and had the capacity for 250 patients. Following the Kirkbride design, the central administration floors were flanked by two patient wings, one for male and one for female. After many different expansions and additions to attempt to relieve overcrowding, the building seems to have become a confusing maze of rooms and hallways.

Recent Message Board Posts

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Undercliff Sanatorium Demoliti... 10 2212 Sat 6th 4:42 pm -
Family needs information on re... 1 62 Sat 6th 12:34 pm - M-Explorer
Woodville State Hospital Pa 1 118 Tue 2nd 3:29 pm - Trickrtreat
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St John's Orphan Asylum Utica ... 1 108 Thu 13th 12:52 pm -

Featured Video

The following is a documentary about Bethlem Royal Hospital that was created for the History channel and is currently hosted on XiveTV's YouTube channel.

Upcoming Events Calendar

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Asylum News   (news you can edit!)


BERLIN, VERMONT – The nearly complete $38 million Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital is a state-of-the-art mental health facility that feels all but institutional.

January 27, 2014 A kinder approach: Former Allentown State Hospital CEO is recognized for reducing restraint tactics

The former CEO walks on the roof of the Allentown State Hospital. He is armed with his high-definition camera and decades of memories to provide context to what he sees. Each step on the roof frames a new perspective of the hospital he helped to transform. The rooms in the former psychiatric center are empty. It has been three years since the hospital closed. For Greg Smith, it is easy to reminisce. He can fill in the blanks, but there aren't many signs of what used to happen at the 100-year-old campus.

January 27, 2014 Taunton State Hospital again faces closure

The state's plan to close the inpatient unit at Taunton State Hospital reflects a philosophical shift that emphasizes community-based services over institutional care, a mental health official said Friday. For the third straight year, the state is proposing to move all inpatient beds from Taunton State Hospital to the new Worcester Recovery Center. In each of the past two years, the state faced staunch local opposition. As a compromise struck in the Legislature, 45 beds currently remain at Taunton State, which used to have about 170.

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