From Asylum Projects
Both the Greystone
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.
The mission of this site is to archive both historical and current information on asylums across the United States and around the world.
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
Greystone Park State Hospital
Originally opened on August 17, 1876, the hospital was known as the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum at Morristown. The asylum officially received the familiar Greystone Park name in 1924. The idea for such a facility was conceived in the early 1870s at the persistent lobbying of Dorothea Lynde Dix, a former school teacher who was an advocate for better health care for people with mental illnesses. Because of her efforts, the New Jersey Legislature appropriated $2.5 million dollars to obtain about 3.007 square kilometers (743 acres) of land for New Jersey’s second "lunatic asylum." Great care was taken to select a location central to the majority of New Jersey's population near Morristown, Parsippany, and Newark. The land Greystone was built on was purchased by the state in two installments between 1871 and 1872 for a total of $146,000.
At this time in history, New Jersey's state-funded mental health facilities were exceedingly overcrowded and sub par compared to neighboring states that had more facilities and room to house patients. Greystone was built, all 62,589 m² (673,706 ft²) of it, in part to relieve the only — and severely overcrowded — "lunatic asylum" in the state, which was located in Trenton, New Jersey. In fact, Greystone's initial 292 patients were transferred from the Trenton facility to Greystone based on geographic distribution, setting precedent for Greystone to become the facility that would generally accept patients whose residences were in the northern part of the state. This proved to be the very reason why Greystone quickly became overcrowded in the heavily-populated North while the Trenton facility's number of patients remained relatively stable in the sparsely populated South. Click here for more...
Featured Image Of The Week
Mrs. Catherine Winslow, the first woman employed at the Maine Insane Hospital
, was appointed matron when the asylum opened in 1840. The asylum was the product of a collaborative effort between the state and two private citizens, Reuel Williams of Augusta (married to Sarah Cony) and Benjamin Brown of Vassalborough. While early mental health institutions may fall far short of present-day standards for treatment for mental illness, the establishment of such places in the early nineteenth century was based, in part, on reforming care for the mentally ill.
The following twenty minute 1936 video entitled "On The Front Lines" was about the major scourge of the time, tuberculosis, and features Waverly Hills Sanitarium
for most of its hospital scenes.
Upcoming Events Calendar
Asylum News (news you can edit!)
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.