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Willard State Hospital |+|
|Title= State Hospital
In 1853, the site was acquired for the state's first agricultural college. The college - on 440 acres of farmland in the town of Ovid, "the geographical centre and Eden of the Empire State" - opened in December 1860, but it didn't last long. Within months, its president and most of the teachers and students marched off to fight in the Civil War, and the college never reopened. It was superseded by the new state university, established in Ithaca on land donated by state Senator Ezra Cornell. |+|
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|−|Soon afterward, the site was earmarked for the Willard Asylum for the Insane, which would represent a second and major step toward transferring responsibility for the care of the mentally ill to the state. From colonial times, the care of insane persons had been a local function. Each county operated a poorhouse, or almshouse, wherein was indiscriminately lodged a hodgepodge of dependant persons: the mad, the feebleminded, the aged and crippled, drunks, epileptics and beggars. The almshouses provided custody and shelter, but "treatment" was not in their vocabulary. |+|
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|−|The first step toward state assumption of responsibility was the opening of the Utica Lunatic Asylum in 1843. Utica was established as a treatment facility. It was reserved for new, acute eases and was required by law to return to county custody any patient who was not discharged as recovered within two years. Still condemned to the almshouse were the incurables, who, contrary to the unreal expectations of early asylum enthusiasts, were the norm among the pauper lunatic class. Dorothea Dix, among others including the underfunded county superintendents of the poor, drew the Legislature's attention to the unspeakable plight of the chronically ill. [[ Willard State Hospital|Click here for more...]] |+|
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Manteno State Hospital
The Illinois Legislature in 1927, under the administration of Len Small, voted to build a new institution for the mentally ill as Kankakee and Chicago State Hospitals were becoming overcrowded. Appropriations for the land and original buildings for a new "insane" hospital were handled by the State Department of Public Welfare. Having in mind that a large proportion of people committed to asylums came from Cook county, a location was chosen close to Chicago and yet outside of the area of high-priced land. A site was chosen near the village of Manteno. 1,000 acres were acquired in a location near the town. Plans were drawn for construction of an administration building first, followed by 100 patient cottages. The contracts were awarded December 8th, 1928.
The fact that an Illinois Central depot was located in the village of Manteno and highway 50 was completed near the site had a great deal to do with the location. In his Biennial message of 1929, Governor Len Small announced in his building report that the hospital was under construction. The cost of the administration building and 8 2-story cottages at the time was $1,172,073. Dedication ceremonies were led by the Governor on November 21st, 1929. On the morning of December 27th, 1930, a train arrived in Manteno carrying 100 male patients from Kankakee and Chicago State Hospitals. Fifteen staff members from the hospital were there to greet them.
Dr. Ralph Hinton was the first administrator and many people who lived in Manteno rushed to apply to work at the newly built institution. Manteno State Hospital gave jobs to many people during the Great Depression. Click here for more...