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Welcome to Asylum Projects,
A historic asylum wiki anyone can edit.
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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

Mimico Asylum


The history of this institution begins on January 20, 1890, when the Mimico Branch Asylum, as it was then known, opened its doors to 116 patients from Toronto. Established to house “the chronic insane” from across the province, the Asylum was situated on 60 acres of land to the west of Toronto, just outside of the village of Mimico on the shore of Lake Ontario. The Mimico site was chosen both for its centrality to other provincial asylums and for its healthy, tranquil rural location. It also included the 125 acre North Farm situated near the main hospital grounds, and after 1903, the adjacent McNeill Farm of approximately 73 acres. As its name suggests, the Asylum was initially established as a branch of the Asylum for the Insane, Toronto (as then known) located at 999 Queen Street West. By 1894, however, the province concluded that it was not economically viable for a single site to assume responsibility for the province’s entire population of chronic patients. Consequently, Mimico was made an independent institution with its own territorial catchment area and renamed the Mimico Asylum. Mimico’s catchment area comprised the counties of Peel, Simcoe, Ontario, Victoria, and Peterborough, and the districts of Muskoka, Parry Sound, Nippissing, Algoma, Thunder Bay, and Rainy River.

Like all other provincial asylums, the Mimico Asylum was administered by the Office of the Inspector of Prisons and Charities, which was a part of the Department of the Provincial Secretary. After 1930, however, responsibility for these institutions was transferred to the provincial Department of Health. Overseen by a variety of branches and divisions within the Department’s jurisdiction, the hospital continued to operate under its auspices until Health Minister Dennis Timbrell made the decision to close the facility effective September 1, 1979. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

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Construction of new wards in the 1890s increased the capacity of the institution to 955. In 1927 the state took over the asylum and purchased more land and increased the capacity by 500. The asylum extended for 3 city blocks along Paddock Road encompassing about 300 acres. In the 1940s a medical building, a nurses home, and St. Dympha Chapel were completed. By 1953 the hospital had 3,568 patients and only 1,831 beds and was understaffed by 50%.

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Featured Video

The following is a documentary on both Laconia State School and also the people who had been sent there. This film was directed, produced, edited, and uploaded to YouTube by 1L Media.

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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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