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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
London Psychiatric Hospital
The former London Asylum for the Insane (LAI) opened in 1870, and has transformed over the years in response to changing approaches to mental health care. In 1869 the provincial legislature appropriated $100,000 to build the London Asylum for the Insane, and 300 acres of land were purchased at $67 an acre. Older asylums at Malden and Orillia closed and were replaced by the new facility in London. The LAI was ready for occupation within 18 months of the site's purchase and its first patients arrived from Malden and Orillia in November 1870.
After its establishment, the LAI aimed to distinguish itself in the field of mental health care in Canada. The Asylum's first superintendent, Dr. Henry Landor, was an advocate of compassionate care, who believed in the restorative influence of a rural setting and the practical use of moral therapy. Landor encouraged the Province of Ontario to purchase of an additional 100 acres east of the original site for the erection of cottages that were intended to provide more comfortable and independent accommodation for long-term patients.
The main building featured a number of wards for different patients. Superintendents wished to create a sense of home life for the patients, and the building featured sitting rooms, solariums and balconies where they could relax. Patients in the main building were separated into paid and free wards. Patients who were able could pay between $1.50 and $2.75 per week for more comfortable surroundings and even private rooms. However, in 1871 only 4% of patients paid any fees. Click here for more...
Featured Image Of The Week
The Brockville Psychiatric Hospital
opened as the ‘Eastern Hospital for the Insane’ on a park-like setting overlooking the St. Lawrence River. The property, measuring 400 by 1,127 metres, was originally known as Pickens Point and extended from the Grand Trunk Railway on the north to the St. Lawrence River to the south. The cafeteria in the existing facility still retains the name ‘Pickens Point’, and is renowned for the high-quality, delicious meals offered to staff, clients and visitors alike. The hospital building was dominated by a seven-storey tower 128 feet high, and the foundation and detailed features were constructed using blue limestone quarried on the site, as well as “polished Bay of Fundy granite columns and arches of Gloucester stone from quarries in the Ottawa area.”
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.
Recent Message Board Posts
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.
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If you have genealogical question here is an information page to help you.