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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

Ypsilanti State Hospital


During the 1920s the necessity for an additional state hospital became apparent. The combined capacity of the existing state hospitals was 1,900 beds short of what was considered adequate. In 1929 Governor Green proposed that a fifth state hospital be developed. The first appropriation of $1.5 million for the fiscal year ending 1930 was passed. Ypsilanti was chosen because of it's population density and proximity to the University Center in Ann Arbor as well as it's availability of land. Purchase of the 1,209 acres was begun in 1929.

On June 16, 1930 the breaking of ground was underway. The following year the Legislature formalized the name and function for the institution. The architectural firm of Albert Kahn designed the buildings and contracts were let out for construction work to 35 separate companies. Construction work was pushed at what was described as a "miracle pace".

The first patients were admitted one day short of the 1 year mark since the groundbreaking. At the time of the formal dedication, July 28, 1931, the physical plant consisted of the receiving hospital and administration building ("A" building), C-1 and C-2 blocks with combined facilities for approximately 900 patients; the unit containing 6 apartments ("J" building); dormitory and apartments for employees (K-1); powerhouse, warehouse & the superintendents quarters. All main buildings to which patients would have need of access were connected by underground tunnels. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

To supplement the rapidly overcrowding asylum at Kalamazoo, the Michigan state legislature established the new Eastern Asylum for the Insane in 1873 (renamed to the Eastern Michigan Asylum before it even opened), to be located in an eastern part of the state near the growing population center of Detroit, where many of Kalamazoo's patients where coming from. Members for a locating board were selected, and after considering potential sites at Detroit, which did not meet all of the requirements of the propositions, and at Holly, which had the advantage of railway lines running both North/South and East/West. But Holly was felt by the board to being too close in proximity to Flint, the location of the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, since it was a policy of the state to distribute it's institutions. the Board selected the site at Pontiac known as the "Woodward farm" in June, 1874. This site had the advantages of good soil for farming, a raised elevation that insured pleasant views, fresh air, and good drainage, wells would be able to supply ample fresh water, and it was adjacent to a primary railway line.

Featured Video

The following video was created by New Zealand's One TV, a news station, on the hospital and was uploaded to Youtube by TATV. It focuses on Tokanui Psychiatric Hospital's abandoned state in a larger picture of government owned abandoned buildings spread across the island.

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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