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Welcome to Asylum Projects,
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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

Benton State Hospital


By 1928, Arkansas State Hospital was seriously overcrowded and in 1929 the legislature authorized creation of a new facility. Land for the new unit of the State Hospital was purchased on Highway 67 approximately five miles southwest of Benton. The first buildings were completed in 1931. In 1934, the State secured a WPA loan and the work was completed with 16 buildings ready for occupancy in 1935. The first patient was admitted to the Benton Unit on June 7., 1936. It soon became evident that the 16 dormitories were inadequate and so a 352 bed capacity building (Bldg 67) was completed on October 29, 1947. In April 1951, another new building with 400 ward beds and 60 infirmary beds (Bldg 70) was completed.

The 1957 Legislature authorized the State Hospital to cease all farming operations. The stock, timber, etc., were disposed of and the patients were transferred to Benton. In 1962, a joint rehabilitative project was initiated at the Benton Unit. Building 7 was remodeled to house the project which was designed to screen all State Hospital patients for Rehabilitative potential. The program was started in May 1962 with one building, 8 employees, and 30 chronic patients. In about 1965, Building 18 was completed and the administrative staff of the Rehabilitation Services moved into it.

The 1961 Legislature appropriated $6,000,000 for the construction of new buildings at the Little Rock State Hospital to replace the old buildings. Construction started in 1963. Until that time, all admissions of patients had been to the Little Rock Hospital where they were evaluated. Chronic and elderly patients were transferred to the Benton Unit. Since the new buildings would not have the bed capacity of the old buildings, it was decided to open an admission office at the Benton Unit. The admission office was opened July 1, 1963. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

On 13 September 1871, the Colonial Secretary’s Office of Sydney reported that ‘His Excellency the Governor with the advice of the Executive Council,directs it to be notified,that the buildings lately used as an Industrial School and Reformatory School for Girls at Newcastle have been appointed to be a Public Lunatic Asylum for Imbeciles and an Institution for Idiots.

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Featured Video

Suffer The Little Children was an expose created in 1968 to expose the conditions at Pennhurst. It was originally a five-part television news report anchored by local CBS10 correspondent Bill Baldini.

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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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