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Weston State Hospital |+|
This was West Virginia's first public institution. Its construction was begun by the State of Virginia before the separation of West Virginia from the mother state, the first appropriation having been made by the Legislature of Virginia, March 22, 1858. The institution was opened October 22, 1859, when nine patients were brought from Ohio, where they had been in temporary care awaiting the completion of the hospital. Dr. R. Hills, formerly of the Central Ohio Insane Asylum , was made superintendent and Dr. N. B. Barnes, assistant. |+|
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|−|In the first years of its history the institution was encompassed with many difficulties. Not only were there financial troubles, but Confederate soldiers in a raid appropriated the blankets belonging to the patients, and in a second raid a ward was destroyed. The people of Weston very generously came to the rescue and contributed their own blankets to fill the temporary needs, public acknowledgment of which was made by the superintendent in his report. In 1868 the population of the hospital was 40; since that date there has been a continual increase in the number of inmates, and a corresponding increase in the appropriation for running expenses, until at the present time the population of the institution is 1023. [[ Weston State Hospital|Click here for more...]] |+|
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In 1850, Dorothea Dix persuaded the General Assembly to appropriate money for a state-run psychiatric hospital in Raleigh. By 1875, an estimated 700 North Carolinians were classified as “insane” and not receiving proper care. One hospital thus proved insufficient to meet the needs of the State’s mentally ill. Therefore, on March 20, 1875, the General Assembly voted to provide $75,000 to establish a second state hospital. Four western North Carolina cities, Statesville, Hickory, Asheville, and Morganton, competed to become the home for the institution that was to be known in its early years as the Western North Carolina Insane Asylum. Morganton was selected.
Gifts and purchases resulted in 263 acres being acquired by the State in 1875. Work began almost immediately. As an economy measure, 50 convicts were released from penitentiaries and brought to Morganton to help make bricks for the hospital’s first building. The brick contractor was responsible for the feeding, safekeeping, and return of the convicts. Realizing that the building under construction would not provide adequate space and due to insufficient funding to expand its size, the General Assembly appropriated an additional $60,000 in 1877 for another wing. Five years later, in December 1882, the Avery Building and its south wing were completed. Dr. Patrick Livingston Murphy was hired as the first superintendent, a position in which he served for 25 years. Click here for more...