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Willard State Hospital |+|
|Title= State Hospital
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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 It was superseded by the new state university, established in Ithaca on land donated by state Senator Ezra Cornell.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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Boston State Hospital
The Boston State Hospital – originally called the Boston Lunatic Asylum – was founded in South Boston in 1839. By the 1880s, new ideas about the care of the mentally ill emphasized the importance of fresh air, hard work, and separation from the adverse influences (both social and environmental) of city life, an approach that was referred to as “moral treatment.” Thus, when the time came to move out of the old and overcrowded facilities in South Boston, the Asylum’s leaders looked to West Roxbury – at that time a semi-rural area that had only recently been incorporated into the city of Boston – as an appropriate setting for a new hospital.
Beginning in 1884, some Asylum residents were moved to the former almshouse at Austin Farm, just across Morton Street from the present Boston Nature Center, where the Harvard Commons development stands today. In 1892, looking for more room for both buildings and farmland, the City purchased the 35-acre Pierce Farm, along Walk Hill and Canterbury Streets – part of which land is now the western end of the BNC. A few years later, the City bought another parcel of land, adjoining Pierce Farm and Canterbury Street, which now includes much of the Clark Cooper Community Gardens and other areas in the central part of the BNC.
It was soon decided that Austin Farm would house women, while Pierce Farm became the “Department for Men” of the recently renamed Boston Insane Hospital. The new buildings at Pierce Farm, designed by city architect Edmund March Wheelwright, opened in 1895, and a few additional farm buildings were added over the following years. Click here for more...