Featured Article Of The Week
Springfield State Hospital
In 1894, the Legislature of the State of Maryland addressed the issue of overcrowding of the one state operated psychiatric hospital by creating a search committee charged with finding a site for the erection of the “Second Hospital for the Insane of Maryland”. This legislation was proposed by John Hubner of Baltimore County.
After reviewing a number of potential sites, the committee selected Springfield, the estate of the Patterson-Brown? family. At the time of this selection, Springfield was owned by Governor Frank Brown, a descendant of the William Patterson family, a wealthy colonial era farmer and merchant. William Patterson’s daughter, Elizabeth, or “Betsy”, gained international fame and notoriety when she married Jerome Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. This courtship, and the ill-fated marriage that followed has been the subject of numerous books and at least one movie. Information about the Patterson and Brown families can be found in the Springfield Hospital Center Museum and the Maryland Historical Society.
The first patients were received at the hospital in July 1896. Existing farm houses were renovated to accommodate those first patients while the hospital buildings were being constructed. The first phase of the building program was the Men’s Group, located in the northern section of the hospital grounds. A Women’s Group, located at the southern end of the campus was completed in 1900. As the hospital population rapidly expanded, additional buildings were erected, including the John Hubner Psychopathic Building, the Epileptic Colony, and significant expansions to the Men’s and Women’s Groups. Click here for more...
Featured Image Of The Week
, constructed in 1872, was once home to the poor, indigent, mentally ill, and occasionally used as a hostel by travelers passing by. Sections of the Almshouse burned twice – in both the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – and were only partially rebuilt. The Almshouse was also previously used as a Civil Defense fall-out shelter in the midst of the Cold War, and retains its deposit of emergency paraphernalia.
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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.