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Featured Article Of The Week

Bartonville State Hospital


Construction on the Bartonville State Hospital began in 1885, and the main structure-an enormous building most closely resembling a medieval castle-was completed in 1887. The building was never used, apparently due to the structural damage caused when the abandoned mine shafts it was built over collapsed. The psychiatric hospital was rebuilt in 1902 under the direction of Dr. George Zeller and implemented a cottage system of 33 buildings, including patient and caretaker housing, a store, a power station, and a communal utility building. Zeller was considered a pioneer of a kinder generation of mental health care, using no window bars or other restraints in his design.

At its peak in the 1950s, Bartonville housed 2,800 patients. The hospital remained in operation until 1972. After its closing, the buildings remained unused and were auctioned off to anyone who would demolish them. Due to the bankruptcy of the intended buyer, however, the buildings are now the property of Winsley Durand, Jr., who has converted most of the structures into office space.

In July 2008, the non-profit group "Save The Bowen, Inc." purchased the former nurses residence, known as the Bowen Building. They are beginning the task of restoring it to it's original condition. Click here for more...