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East Mississippi State Hospital
On March 8, 1882, the Mississippi State Legislature approved enabling legislation to establish the East Mississippi State Insane Asylum. This came about largely due to the efforts of Miss Dorothea Dix, a champion for mentally ill in the United States. The city of Meridian purchased and donated 560 acres of land for the construction of the facility. The asylum opened its doors for service in January of 1885, with a 19 year old man from Meridian as the first patient.
In the years 1893 and 1894, three native magnolia trees and three Japanese magnolia trees were planted in front of the Administration Building. These trees make a beautiful entrance to the hospital even today.
The original structure was three stories and built on the Kirkbride plan. The administration was in the center with two wings consisting of three wards each. The capacity of this building was 250 patients. Since then, the campus had been develpoped on the Cottage plan and by 1916 in addition to the original building there were six cottages, and Tuberculosis building, and a building for treating the acute sick.
The name of the institution was changed from East Mississippi State Insane Asylum to East Mississippi Insane Hospital in 1898, and finally to East Mississippi State Hospital in the early 1930's, perhaps reflecting changes in attitudes toward the mentally ill nationwide. Click here for more...