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Arizona State Hospital
Eight years after Arizona became a separate territory from New Mexico, the concept that mental illness is a state responsibility was first recognized by the Territorial Legislature. On February 17, 1871, legislation was enacted which stated that the various Boards of Supervisors of the counties must provide for the confinement of all insane persons, "either in the County jail or in such other manner and place as shall be in their judgment be best for the safety of said insane person and of the community."
In 1885, the 13th Territorial Legislature met to appropriate $100,000 for the construction of the "Insane Asylum of Phoenix" in Arizona. In addition, an Honorary Board of Directors of the Insane Asylum of Phoenix was established. County bonds were issued for $3,500 for 160 acres with water rights 2-1/2 miles east of Phoenix. Construction began in 1886, to accommodate up to 280 patients, taking eight months to complete.
The "Insane Asylum of Phoenix" opened early in January 1887, for 61 patients with the completion of "D" building. This was actually 3 buildings with 2 patient wings and a central administrative facility.
Under the Board's direction, the remaining 160 acres was cleared of brush for grain crops, a vegetable garden, a vineyard and an orchard with 2,000 trees. In addition, a small area was set aside for a staff and patient cemetery, which has 2400 graves dating back to 1888. Among those buried in "All Souls Cemetery" is Corporal Isaiah Mays, a Buffalo Soldier who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. Click here for more...