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On Feb. 21, 1905, the Indiana legislature passed a bill
to construct a mental institution in southeastern Indiana. A commission named for the purpose chose Madison as the site of the institution. It was built mostly on land purchased from Henry and Ford Hitz at $100 per acre, atop the hills overlooking the Ohio River. The first patients were accepted at the new Southeastern Indiana Hospital for the Insane on Aug. 23, 1910. The approximately 600 patients were transported here from Central State Hospital in Indianapolis by train. Guards who stood watch over them carried shotguns loaded with rock salt.