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Welcome to Asylum Projects,
A historic asylum wiki anyone can edit.
2,071 articles and counting
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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

Battle Creek Sanitarium


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It started in 1854 when the Adventist Church was established in Battle Creek. In 1860, the denominational name was changed to Seventh-day Adventist (SDA): “Seventh Day,” because their Sabbath is on Saturday, the seventh day of the week; and “Adventist,” because they were remnants of the Millerite movement that erroneously predicted the advent of the Second Coming of Christ in 1844. The denomination believes in sanctity of body and soul, and advocates temperance and preventive medicine as a way of life. To support this belief, the Adventists opened their first health retreat, the Western Health Reform Institute, in 1866.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) took charge of the Institute for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1876 and changed the name to the Battle Creek Sanitarium. He came up with the word “sanitarium” to reflect his idea of a sanitary retreat for health restoration and training (“a place where people learn to stay well”) rather than “sanitorium,” which meant a hospital for invalids or for treatment of tuberculosis. The San, as the place was familiarly known, prospered under Dr. Kellogg’s direction. The original building was expanded and a new structure (“Old Main”) was completed in April 1878.

Dr. Kellogg’s medical treatment embraced all branches of medicine, including surgery, but with emphasis on fresh air, sunshine, exercise, rest and diet. The SDA dietary practices eliminated meats, condiments, spices, alcohol, chocolate, coffee and tea. Nutritious substitutes were created for “harmful” foods. Dr. Kellogg invented some 80 grain and nut products. He originated peanut butter in 1893 by grinding cooked peanuts in the kitchens at the San. He manufactured the first Battle Creek health food, granola (an ancestor of Grape-Nuts) in 1878. A “Caramel Cereal” coffee substitute beverage (an ancestor of Postum) was developed as a suitable drink for use at the San in 1876. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

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The Coldwater Regional Mental Health Center opened in 1874 as the State Public School for Orphaned Children. The school was opened in Coldwater on May 21, 1874. Once admitted, children participated in "family-like" life in cottages and a placing-out program. A third of each day was used for schoolwork, a third for recreation and entertainment, and a third for acquiring work skills. Children learned reading, spelling, counting, calisthenics, singing, cyphering and slate drawing. By the turn of the century, the facility had become the only home in Michigan admitting both normal and handicapped children.

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 video is a fifty-four minute video on the history surround Belchertown State School created by Arbez Productions.

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.