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Welcome to Asylum Projects,
A historic asylum wiki anyone can edit.
2,334 articles and counting
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Click here to see current and past preservation alerts and 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

Manhattan Psychiatric Center


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In 1871 when the new branch of the New York City Insane Asylum opened Ward's Island already was home to the Verplank State Emigrant Hospital, on the north eastern side, as well was the New York City Inebriate Asylum on the Southwestern part of the island, just below the new Insane Asylum. The new hospital building was built constructed of brick and Ohio free-state in the English Gothic Style with a Mansard roof. It was built in the Kirkbride style, with a three story central building with wings staggered back en echelon on either side. The cost of this structure was $700,000, and its overall frontage was 475 feet, with accommodation for 500 patients.

Upon opening the Ward's Island Asylum became the Male Department of the New York City Insane Asylum system, and it operated independently from the original Asylum, now the Female Department, on Blackwell's Island. Immediately all male patients were shipped up river to this new building. Regrettably this new hospital was no real improvement and suffered from many defects. The eating and lighting proved to be inadequate, the furniture was crude and many patients did not even have eating utensils to use at meal time. The nurse to patient ratio was one to 30 while the physicians proved inexperienced, only serving at the Asylum until they had enough experience to move on. Attendants proved similarly inadequate, as did treatment of patients, with many being locked in their rooms. The patients often were mingled with no regard to disease annd with no treatment. On top of this it was almost immediately the hospital found itself again overcrowded and looking for more space. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

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The Blackwell's island Asylum was the first lunatic asylum for the city of New York and the first municipal mental hospital in the country. The institution was the first in what later became a larger system of New York City Asylums which was comprised of hospitals on Blackwell's, Ward's, and more briefly Hart's and Randall's Islands in New York City.

Recent Message Board Posts

Hello,

In this space you normally would see our forum. This had been a hold over from earlier days before we had a Facebook page. Just prior to our server issues regular users had been barely using the forum with the majority of new posts from anonymous users asking genealogy questions or spammers. The old forum software does not work with our new version while the new forum software does not carry over old comments to the new forum. As a result, the forum will be discontinued in favor of our Facebook page. If you have questions or comments you can ask them there.

Asylum Projects Facebook Page
If you have genealogical question here is an information page to help you.

Featured Video

The following is a video documentary about the closing of Kings Park State Hospital that was created and uploaded to YouTube by the Kings Park Historical Society.

Upcoming Events Calendar

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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.