Mt Pleasant State Hospital

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Mt Pleasant State Hospital
Mt Pleasant State Hospital
Construction Began 1855
Construction Ended 1865
Opened 1861
Closed 2015
Current Status Closed
Building Style Kirkbride Plan (Demolished)
Architect(s) Jonathan Preston
Location Mount Pleasant, Iowa
Peak Patient Population 1,581 in 1946
Alternate Names
  • Iowa Lunatic Asylum, Mount Pleasant
  • Mount Pleasant Insane Asylum
  • Mount Pleasant Hospital for the Insane
  • Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute
  • Mount Pleasant Asylum for the Insane
  • Iowa State Hospital for the Insane
  • Mount Pleasant Lunatic Asylum
  • Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility (Current)


The first patient was admitted on February 26, 1861. In the early years of its operation, the facility was a custodial facility for patients who were hospitalized for long periods of time, some for the greater part of their lives. Mt. Pleasant went through the years updating the building as needed. 1870 saw the purchase of thirty-seven and a half acres of serviceable farmland. Four years later, the engine house caught fire destroying the boiler of the hospital. The General Assembly immediately appropriated funds for construction of a new boiler house. During this period, worry over tuberculosis dominated many municipalities including the city of Mt. Pleasant and the asylum. The board of trustees constructed and implemented a new tuberculosis cottage. In the same year, 1878, it expanded the kitchen and improved the transportation of water throughout the facility.

By 1884, both hospitals were in the middle of huge development projects. Mt. Pleasant erected additional east (men's) and west (women's) wings; completed in 1885 and 1887, respectively. Although each hospital provided care for hundreds of additional patients, roughly 200 per expansion, it still fell short of solving the population problem. The government removed dangerous and criminally insane and moved them to the newly built the department for the criminally insane in Anamosa.

On August 10, 1936. A fire consumed parts of the main building, chapel, recreation building, and employee dormitory. Mt. Pleasant evacuated all 1,300 plus patients. Hundreds from the town came out to aid the insane; they formed a human chain to contain the meandering patients. One woman wandered off and was never heard from again. Iowa immediately appropriated $215,000 for repairs, with up to $502,000 available over the next two years for construction. Mt. Pleasant turned the catastrophe into an opportunity to redesign the damaged space into a more modern medical facility. The Board of Control drew up plans for a larger, combination chapel and amusement hall with a centralized kitchen. The new spaces could relieve overcrowding by 1,000.

In 1946, the facility reached its peak occupancy of 1,581. Since 1945 however, new therapies and medications have helped decrease the facility's population, and the individual's average length of stay has been reduced from years to a matter of weeks.

The Center for Psychiatric Care (Adult Psychiatric Services and Dual Diagnosis) is accredited by the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services. The Iowa Residential Treatment Center is licensed by the Iowa Department of Public Health, and is currently operating on a three-year accreditation which was received in 2005.

From the "BOARD OF CONTROL OF STATE INSTITUTIONS, From Iowa Official Register 1909-1910" pages 262-269

  • Superintendent-CHARLES F. APPLEGATE, M.D.
  • First Assistant Physician-FRANK T. STEVENS, M.D.
  • Second Assistant Physician-EDWARD L. EMRICH, M.D.
  • Third Assistant Physician-JOHN F. SCHAEFER, M.D.
  • Woman Physician-ANNE BURNET, M.D.
  • Pathologist-FRED G. ELLIS

The amount allowed for the support of this hospital is $12 per month for each patient. All expenses of the hospital, except for special purposes, are paid from the sum so named, and the amount is charged to the counties from which patients are sent.

In July, 2015 the hospital closed, along with Clarinda State Hospital.[1]

Images of Mt Pleasant State Hospital[edit]

Main Image Gallery: Mt Pleasant State Hospital


There is a cemetery on the property, however it is now off-limits as part of the prison that currently operates the facility.