Nashville State Hospital

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Nashville State Hospital
Construction Began 1832
Opened 1840/1852
Closed 1995
Demolished 1999
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Pre-1854 Plan
Alternate Names
  • Tennessee Hospital for the Insane
  • Central State Hospital for the Insane
  • Middle Tennessee State Insane Asylum
  • Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute


Tennessee’s first facility for the mentally ill, Tennessee Lunatic Asylum, opened in 1840 Nashville as the eleventh institution for mentally ill in United States. Dorothea Dix, American activist on behalf of the indigent insane, visited Tennessee in 1847 and found Nashville asylum deficient. She implored the Legislature to purchase a larger site for a new hospital. The next year Legislature appropriated $40,000 for new hospital for insane. A site was purchased on Murfreesboro Road and Donelson Pike, southeast of Nashville. Tennessee Hospital for the Insane (now Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute) opened with 60 patients transferred from old asylum. William A. Cheatham was the hospital's first superintendent.

In 1995, the hospital moved to new facilities on Stewarts Ferry Pike. The original hospital buildings were demolished in 1999 to make way for Dell to build a customer support center and large computer assembly plant.

  • A separate facility for the criminally insane opened on grounds of Central State Hospital in 1931.

Images of Nashville State Hospital[edit]

Main Image Gallery: Nashville State Hospital