Fairview State Hospital, Canaan Township, Wayne County

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Hello,

I just find out that one of my ancestors died in that hospital. He spent there more than 2 years and died out of syphilis.
I would like to ask about that place. Was it hospital or hospital for criminals? Do you know if I could get any info from there, does the hospital still exists, because I could not find it on line?

Thank you in advanced
Aldona

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Hello, what time period was he imprisoned there?

Yes, Fairview State Hospital was a criminally insane hospital for the state of Pennsylvania. The hospital from what I have read was not at all the best place to be. In 1977 Acel Moore and Wendell Rawls Jr. of the Philadelphia Inquirer won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the abuse suffered by the patients/inmates there. In Rawls' book which I read "Cold Storage" the facility was depicted as a place where prisons sent inmates they wanted to punish and where people were abused regularly and forgotten by the system. There were apparently people there who went years without ever seeing a doctor or receiving treatment, guys who had been acquitted but remained in the prison for years.

The facility is now run by the Dept of Corrections and has been since 1989, having shifted from a criminally insane hospital to a regular prison, though I do believe they maintain a forensic psych unit. It is called SCI Waymart, I would call and see if they can help you http://www.cor.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx#.VO7BmfnF9mU

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Farview State Hospital for the Criminal Insane, Wayne County, PA
My great grandfather was the editor of the Farview Echo - the hospital's monthly newspaper in the early years if the institution. I have copies of that paper dating from 1920 to 1923. My great grandfather reports a much more progressive and humane picture of the place in contrast to the view provided by Soldat251. It may be that times and methods had changed from the early 1920's to the time when Moore and Rawls did their investigation. I recently donated my Echo collection to the Wayne County Historical Society. They are scanning the 46 papers (184 pages) and will make them available to genealogy and local history researchers shortly. Their website can be found at: www.waynehistorypa.org

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Knitkee1969,

That is excellent news, thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading the newspapers.Not too much is known and out there about Farview, especially in the early years. Most of what exists covers the periods of reported abuse from the 1950s-1970s.

I have no doubt that the institution began as a much more functional and pleasant place for the criminally insane to receive treatment than later.

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My great grandfather, Franklin P Woodward, lived across the street from the hospital when he worked there. He had 2 daughters that also worked there and lived in the hospital for a time. They were both employed as seamstresses and eventually married guards. The house across the street no longer stands, but I remember visiting there a few times as a child (and being just a little scared of my "neighbors" on the other side of the high chain link fence!). I am in contact with the WCHS regarding the project to scan the Echo papers I sent to them. I will provide updates as they are made available to me.

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Quote:Knitknee1969 Sun 8th 5:24 pm
My great grandfather was the editor of the Farview Echo - the hospital's monthly newspaper in the early years if the institution. I have copies of that paper dating from 1920 to 1923. My great grandfather reports a much more progressive and humane picture of the place in contrast to the view provided by Soldat251. It may be that times and methods had changed from the early 1920's to the time when Moore and Rawls did their investigation. I recently donated my Echo collection to the Wayne County Historical Society. They are scanning the 46 papers (184 pages) and will make them available to genealogy and local history researchers shortly. Their website can be found at: www.waynehistorypa.org


Thank you for doing that! I will contact them about those documents. I just discovered that my great uncle was a patient/inmate there in the 1920 census, but Warren Hospital for 1910, 1930, and 1940 censuses. He died in 1950. Would like to find more information out about him. I suspect autism misdiagnosed as schizophrenia, and treated for the latter. I also need to find if any Warren hospital records are available.

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Farview State Hospital, Canaan Township, Wayne County, PA - 1920's
Quote:LetaRogers Mon 9th 6:18 pm


Thank you for doing that! I will contact them about those documents. I just discovered that my great uncle was a patient/inmate there in the 1920 census, but Warren Hospital for 1910, 1930, and 1940 censuses. He died in 1950. Would like to find more information out about him. I suspect autism misdiagnosed as schizophrenia, and treated for the latter. I also need to find if any Warren hospital records are available.



If you could give me the name of your great uncle, I will check the Farview Echo paper pdf files that I have to see if he is mentioned.

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Is there a cemetery?
If a person died in this hospital and the family didn't claim the body - was there a cemetery on the grounds where deceased inmates were buried?


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